The fate of the iconic Leuser Ecosystem -- the last place on Earth where Tigers, Orangutans, Rhinos, and Elephants still coexist, along with myriad other wild species -- could be decided this week.
On Tuesday (Nov. 8), Indonesian judges will deliver their verdict on a major lawsuit against the much-criticized Aceh Spatial Plan, a scheme that would see much of the Leuser region in northern Sumatra environmentally devastated.
In more than a dozen blogs and press releases, ALERT has supported the lawsuit -- known as GeRAM, the Aceh Citizen Lawsuit Movement -- as well as other initiatives to save the Leuser Ecosystem (for example, see here, here, and here).
Make Your Voice Heard
To date, over 73,000 people from Aceh, Indonesia, and around the world have signed this Change.Org Petition to support the lawsuit. Please take a few seconds to sign it too!
GeRAM is urging the judges presiding over the case to deliver a fair verdict for Leuser.
The Coalition is arguing that the Aceh government has ignored the tremendous conservation significance and vital ecosystem services of Leuser in its spatial plan.
Such ecosystem services include reducing destructive floods and landslides, limiting erosion, storing carbon, and providing clean water supplies to villages and farmers in the region.
Roads to Ruin
Farwiza Farhan, a leading Indonesian conservationist, said the Aceh Spatial Plan “effectively legalizes numerous new roads, many of which have already been cut and constructed illegally through vast areas of the forests, fragmenting the sensitive ecosystem and opening up new pathways for destruction.”
There is great fear that, without adequate protection, Leuser could soon resemble the tragic Tesso Nilo National Park in central Sumatra, which is being devastated by fires, oil palm expansion, poaching, and uncontrolled encroachment.
In a press event in Indonesia last week, GeRAM representatives highlighted the crucial nature of the court's ruling this week -- while releasing this excellent video.
Aman Jarum, a local traditional leader said, "We appeal to the judges to apply their wisdom in making their decision, taking into account the lives and livelihoods of the Acehnese people which depend on the Leuser Ecosystem.”
The world will be watching on Tuesday and hoping for a verdict in favor of those battling to save one of the world's most important natural wonders.