Conservation news

Audio: The fight to save Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem

On this episode, we welcome Gemma Tillack, agribusiness campaign director of the Rainforest Action Network, an NGO based in San Francisco and a group that has been very active in the global campaign to protect Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem.

One of the richest, most biodiverse tropical forests on the planet, Leuser is currently being targeted for expansion of oil palm plantations by a number of companies. Tillack explains just what makes Leuser so unique and valuable, details some of her organization’s investigations into the ongoing clearance of Leuser in violation of Indonesia’s moratorium on deforestation for new oil palm plantations, and how consumers like you and me can help decide the fate of the region.

A lot of the activism around Leuser focuses on orangutans and other charismatic megafauna, but Mongabay ran a report in January detailing how, for the people who actually live there, the far more pressing concern is the provision of ecosystem services — in other words having clean air to breathe and clean water to drink.

We also welcome to the show research ecologist Marconi Campos Cerqueira for our latest Field Notes segment. Cerqueira has recently completed a study that used bioacoustic monitoring to examine shifts in bird ranges driven by climate change in the mountains of Puerto Rico, and he’ll share some of his recordings with us. (Anyone can assess and listen to all of Cerqueira’s recordings here, and listen in real time to recordings being made in Puerto Rico.)

Here’s this episode’s top news:

Not only can you read more about all of these top news items at, but you can also request email alerts when we publish new stories on specific topics that you care about most, from forests and oceans to indigenous people’s rights and more. Visit to sign up!

Mongabay is a nonprofit and relies on the support of its readers, so if you value what you learn at the site and on this podcast, please visit to help make it all possible.

You can find all of our podcast episodes on Android, Google Play, iTunes, Stitcher, TuneIn, or RSS.

An orangutan eating a banana in Gunung Leuser National Park. Photo by Rhett Butler.

Follow Mike Gaworecki on Twitter: @mikeg2001

FEEDBACK: Use this form to send a message to the author of this post. If you want to post a public comment, you can do that at the bottom of the page.