The Last Place on Earth: A New Report Exposes Threats to the Leuser Ecosystem

November 12, 2014

The work of 2014 Goldman Prize winner Rudi Putra is featured in a report released by Rainforest Action Network (RAN) earlier this week. The report, titled “The Last Place on Earth, Exposing Threats to the Leuser Ecosystem: A Global Biodiversity Hotspot Deserving Protection,” details the dire threats facing Indonesia’s Leuser Ecosystem.

The report describes the Leuser Ecosystem as “a rich and verdant expanse of intact tropical lowland rainforests, cloud draped mountains and steamy peat swamps. It is among the most biodiverse ecosystems ever documented by science, and it is the last place where orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos and sun bears still live together.”

A biologist by training, Rudi Putra is dismantling illegal palm oil plantations that are causing massive deforestation in the Leuser Ecosystem, protecting the habitat of these critically endangered species, especially the Sumatra rhino.

In the report Putra describes his work, saying, “My community and I work tirelessly to shut down and destroy illegal palm oil plantations inside the federally protected Leuser Ecosystem, using chainsaws and uprooting illegal oil palms. We do this to protect our families from the floods that result from the destruction of the forests on the hillsides that surround our homes.”

The report also provides recommendations to protect endangered species and community livelihoods from encroaching industrial development. To read the full report, click HERE.