Illegal forest clearing spotted in Aceh’s biggest peat swamp

A forest is cleared for oil palm in Bulohseuma in Indonesia's Aceh province. Photo: Chik Rini
A forest is cleared for oil palm in Bulohseuma in Indonesia’s Aceh province. Photo: Chik Rini

Encroachers have been clearing forest at three locations in Aceh’s biggest peat swamp since February, analysis of Landsat satellite imagery by environmental group Greenomics-Indonesia shows.

The Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve, on the western coast of Indonesia’s Aceh province and the island of Sumatra, is home to the densest population of critically endangered Sumatran orangutans in the Leuser Ecosystem.

It is not yet clear who is responsible for the deforestation, but encroachment for oil palm happens frequently in the area, and Greenomics suspects that is probably the case here.

Greenomics Executive Director Vanda Mutia Dewi said she had submitted a formal complaint to the Environment and Forestry Ministry.

Greenomics confirmed the findings with a field check in May.

Landsat satellite images from February and June show forest clearing in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve. Photo courtesy of Greenomics
Landsat satellite images from February and June show forest clearing in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve. Photo courtesy of Greenomics

One of the locations in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve where forest clearing was spotted, photographed in May. Photo courtesy of Greenomics
One of the locations in the Rawa Singkil Wildlife Reserve where forest clearing was spotted, photographed in May. Photo courtesy of Greenomics

A map of the location in question. Photo courtesy of Global Forest Watch
A map of the location in question. Photo courtesy of Global Forest Watch

Produced in English by Philip Jacobson.

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