In Indonesia, Environmentalists See a Disaster in the Making by Sara Schonhardt October 11, 2013
In Aceh, a region in Indonesia, loggers have begun to develop what is supposed to be protected forests and land. These lands contain “one of the world richest ecosystems” where endangered orangutans, tigers, and elephants live. In addition to protecting endangered species, the forests also helped prevent natural disasters such as landslides. According to the article, local officials have issued unauthorized permits for mining and palm oil plantations “have affected more than 520,000 hectares, or 1.3 million acres, of protected forest in Aceh.” The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Program’s rehabilitation center, which was “built to accommodate about 25 animals, currently has double that number, largely because of the increase in forest clearing.” Government officials say that the protected land is hindering the growth of the local economy. Although the land is protected, Aceh’s governor Zaini Abdullah has proposed a land-use plan, which would turn some of the protected forestland into production forests. The plan is supposed to allow for the local communities to grow but still protect the environment.