Aceh's purge of illegal oil palm at 3,000 hectares and counting

6 April 2015

A joint effort to eradicate illegal oil palm in an area of Indonesia's Aceh province that was devastated by flash flooding in 2006 has dismantled 3,000 hectares worth of plantations and counting.

The plantations lie within the protected Leuser Ecosystem (KEL), the last place on earth where the Sumatran rhino, elephant, tiger and orangutan coexist in the wild.

"This is being done to protect the people of Aceh Tamiang from ecological disaster," said Rudi Putra, head of HAkA, a local NGO.

In 2006, parts of central and eastern Aceh were hit by a wave of floods and landslides so violent that it was likened to a "second tsunami." Aceh Tamiang was at the center of the catastrophe, in large part because upstream deforestation had eroded crucial ecosystem services that normally mitigate fallout from heavy rain. Tens of thousands of the regency's citizens were displaced.

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