• Mr. Franck Viault (Head of Cooperation), Ms. Marja Daffern (Deputy Head of Finance, Contracts and Audit) and Mr. Giovanni Serritella (Programme Manager for Environment, Climate change and FLEGT-VPA) of the EU Delegation to Indonesia, Brunei Darussalam and ASEAN visited the base camp of the Elephant Patrol Unit (EPU), which is managed  and operated by LIF, at Aras Napal on Thursday, 16 April 2015. More

  • Seven of the world's rarest rhinoceroses have been found in a national park in Indonesia. This is the first time the creatures have been seen in 26 years. Deforestation is still pushing the Sumatran toward extinction.

    Hidden cameras buried deep in an Indonesian national park have snapped images of seven critically endangered Sumatran rhinos. The rhinos haven't been seen in more than a quarter of a century and conservationists had feared the Sumatran was extinct. But, six females and one male rhino are now known to live in the Mount Leuser National Park, which is on the northern tip of Sumatra. More

  • The Leuser Management Unit (LMU), while implementing the Leuser Development Programme (funded jointly by the EU and GoI), officially launched the Elephant Patrol Unit (EPU) in Aras Napal on 9 May 2000 and this was the first of its kind in Indonesia. More

  • The Conservation Response Unit (CRU) will mitigate human-elephant conflicts. This Unit has four trained elephants under the supervision of a mahout provided by the Natural Resources Conservation Agency (BKSDA). The project will support the initial cost for the infrastructure development of the CRU and also support its operational costs until 2016. The elephants will be supported and the local community will participate in monitoring wildlife conflicts and illegal forestry activities. More

  • Dr. Jamal Gawi, MES, Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Leuser International Foundation, participated in a discussion on Tigers (Wildlife Protection Series) at @america Pacific Place in Jakarta on Wednesday, 1 October 2014. More



1995 - 2004


The Leuser Development Programme (LDP) grew out of the recognition by the Government of Indonesia (GoI) and the European Commission (EC) that sustainable development depended on the wise use of the ecological services emanating from the world’s wildlands. As a fundamental precondition for the implementation of this programme, a special Conservation Concession to manage the Leuser Ecosystem was given out by the Government of Indonesian to a Foundation specifically created for this purpose - the Leuser International Foundation (LIF). For the duration of the LDP, the Foundation delegated the day-to-day management of the area to a specially created technical body containing both Indonesian and European professional staff, known as the Leuser Management Unit (LMU). After the end of the Programme the task of implementing the management of the conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem reverted to the LIF.

The proposal for the Leuser Development Programme was agreed officially in a signing ceremony in Jakarta in May 1995. Later that year an opening ceremony was held in Banda Aceh, the provincial capital of Aceh, during which the President of the Republic of Indonesia signed a Declaration urging all people to help protect and conserve the Leuser Ecosystem for the benefit of mankind.

The Leuser Ecosystem

The Leuser Ecosystem, located in the provinces of Nanggroe Aceh Darussalam and North Sumatra, is an area that has an integrated landscape of characteristic flora and fauna, a balanced habitat that supports the sustainable existence of biological diversity and other factors, such that it forms an indivisible unit. The area includes the designated Gunung Leuser National Park and other conservation areas and buffer zones on the periphery. It is approximately 2.6 million hectares in extent and stretches from the shores of the Indian Ocean almost to the Malacca Straits and from the Lake Toba depression to Lake Laut Tawar in the North. It contains the largest contiguous expanse of undisturbed rainforest of the western Indo-Malay Realm in the world.

The Purpose of the Leuser Development Programme

The Purpose of the Project was to create the conditions necessary for the long-term effective conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem.

Period and Funding

The Leuser Development Programme (LDP) began on 10 November 1995 and was originally designed as a seven year project finishing on 9 November 2002. To complete the complex work of finalizing the legal basis for the conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem and its management, a two year extension was agreed by both the Government of Indonesia and the EC through Amendment No 1. 

In the Amendment the amount contributed by the EC and GoI was revised so that the total contribution from the EC was in the amount of 31 million Euro and the amount from the GoI was to the value of six million Euro. The extension lasted until 9 November 2004.

Achievements of the LDP

The achievements of the LDP included the issuance of declarations by local communities expressing support towards the conservation of the LE, the establishment of the Elephant Patrol Unit in Aras Napal in cooperation with the Ministry of Forestry, the delineation of the LE boundaries in the provinces of Aceh and North Sumatra with endorsement from the Minister of Forestry (for Aceh in 2001 and for North Sumatra in 2002), the rehabilitation of the Singkil - Bengkung wildlife corridor, the publication, distribution and socialization of the Buku Ajar Leuser textbooks for elementary, Junior and Senior High Schools in 11 districts in the LE and the construction of the Alur Buluh airstrip in Kutacane, Aceh Tenggara district (completed in July 2004).

 Among the major conservation victories  achieved were the closure of several road projects that would have destroyed the Leuser Ecosystem, the cancellation of six logging concessions and three inappropriately sited plantations, the termination of several swamp drainage schemes, and the saving of almost half a million ha of forest that would otherwise have been clear felled and converted to agriculture.

Singkil – Bengkung Corridor

The acquisition of the Singkil-Bengkung wildlife corridor was done in cooperation with the Government of Indonesia.  The costs for the  rehabilitation of the corridor including the settlement of any land claims were borne by the Government of Indonesia as part of its contribution to the LDP. All negotiations with settlers were led by the local Government and monitored for fairness by the LIF and the LDP staff. A few years later, the information coming from the field and from aerial surveys was encouraging.  The canopy was returning to something like its original condition.  Wildlife moved regularly along their traditional migration routes.




The Programme for Watershed Protection in Aceh phase-I, funded by the New Zealand Aid Programme (NZAid) was launched on 13th January 2009  in a ceremony at the Leuser Conservation Centre in Banda Aceh.   This  NZD 2.4 million project would lay the foundation for watershed protection in Aceh iTengah and Bener Meriah districts and initiate long term reforestation in the area, that constitutes the buffer zone of the Leuser Ecosystem.

Project office in Wih Pesam, Bener Meriah District with Mount Burni Telong in the background

Goal The Programme for Watershed Protection in Aceh, supported by NZAid, strives to improve livelihoods in Aceh through improved watershed protection and management. 


  1. Improvement of agro-forestry practices in upper watershed catchments.

  2. Afforestation of degraded lands in upper catchments.

  3. Maintenance of the quality and extent of the existing forest.

  4. Strengthened local government planning and policy making to provide effective land allocation and resource management.

Objective of Phase One : To create the conditions necessary for the longer-term implementation of water catchment protection and management in Central Aceh.  (In line with changes in the direction and focus of the Australian government’s Country Strategy for Indonesia, this project is currently supported on a short term basis only.) 


Some of the activities are shown briefly below:


Text Box: Project Leader DR.Ir.Syahrul,Msc. addresses the participants.  A meeting on land tenure issues was facilitated in Takengon, Aceh Tengah District, on 20 January 2011.  This meeting was officially opened by Drs. Muhammad Syukri M.Pd (Assistant II for Economic and Development Affairs), representing the Head of the District, and attended by 46 participants including 30 representatives of 10 Villages in Aceh Tengah, officials of the local Development Planning Board (Bappeda),  the Land Affairs Office (BPN) and other relevant government agencies. The speakers at this meeting were from the District Plantation and Forestry Department, the  District Land Affairs Office, Bappeda, and Syiah Kuala University’s Legal Consultant for Land Affairs.



  1. The communities jointly and consciously acknowledge the boundaries and function of the forest areas especially the protected forest areas.

  2. The Watershed Protection Programme conducted by Leuser International Foundation in Aceh Tengah and especially the afforestation and regreening (planting on critical land) activities are done within forest areas (protection forests) as well as outside forest areas (other use areas/cultivation areas).

  3. In future, planting outside forest areas can be utilized for timber supply while planting within forest areas (especially protection forests) can be utilized for non-timber forest products only in compliance with the existing rules and regulations.

  4. The relevant agencies should clarify the certainty of the area status in 10 villages in Aceh Tengah where the programme is located, namely in the villages of Ramung Ara, Kuyun and Kuyun Uken (in Celala subdistrict), and the villages of Pepalang, Terang Ulen, Paya Jeget, Kedelah, Ierelop, Pedekok and Wihlah (in Pegasing subdistrict) in the form of data on the size of the forest area and the clarity of the forest area boundary in each of the above villages.

  5. The certification of community land can only be done for land outside forest and protected areas in accordance with the existing laws and regulations.


Further meetings need to be held to prepare work maps that show area boundaries and the boundaries between villages (10 programme location villages in the two subdistricts of Pegasing and Celala) and the sites of afforestation groups (programme participants) in each village. The work maps concerned must be approved and signed by the Head of Village, the Subdistrict Head, Head of Mukim and representatives from the relevant agencies and related institutions.

Drs.Muhammad Syukri,M.Pd, the Aceh Tengah District Head’s Assistant for Economic and Development Affairs, representing the Head of District, officially opens the meeting.

Syarifuddin HR,SP (Head of Pegasing subdistrict) signs a joint agreement on the conclusions of the meeting.


Micro credit has already been disbursed to 20 groups with 185 beneficiary members in 11 villages in Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah districts.  The disbursement was done in cooperation with Baitul Qiradh An Nahl, a micro finance institution, based on proposals submitted by members, the verification by a project officer in the field, and the feasibility of the budget proposed.

The 100 group target has already been achieved with a total loan in the amount of IDR 1.8 billion and the coverage of all 20 villages with 863 members as beneficiaries.

Mariani, a member of Mawar Putih micro credit group of Kuyun Uken village  in Aceh Tengah District  and recipient of IDR 1,000,000  as micro credit from the project, harvesting chilies.

Semirah, a member of Ayu Ara micro credit group of  Nosar Baru village in Bener Meriah District and recipient of IDR 2,565,000 micro credit proudly stands in front of her long onion crop.

Almajuraida, a member of Musara Ate micro credit group of Wihlah village in Aceh Tengah District and a  recipient of IDR 5,000,000 micro credit to add to her own capital of IDR 1,800,000 looking after her water buffalo

Halimah, a member of Mahbengi micro credit group of Pilar Jaya village in Bener Meriah District and recipient of IDR 1,800,000



In order to improve gender sensitivity and the influence of women’s groups in the decision making process, training sessions on different themes were held on different dates in January 2011 for micro credit groups receiving loans from the project.  Based on requests from members and the result of a need assessment study, the training included materials on crop cultivation techniques, home agro industry, animal husbandry and fishery.

Instructor Dedi Gunawan S,SP.MM from the Aceh Tengah Agriculture and Food Crop Agency addresses the participants of a training session for micro credit group members at Kuyun Uken village.

Instructor Dedi Gunawan S,SP.MM from the Aceh Tengah Agriculture and Food Crop Agency, explains about pest control for chili crops to the participants of a training session for micro credit group members in a field session at Kuyun Uken village.


A two-day training on agroforestry was held in both Aceh Tengah and Bener Meriah districts in January 2011 to enhance the capacity of district level agencies to support agroforestry.  The training in each district included class sessions (theory) and field trips (practice).

Class session of agroforestry training in Bener Meriah District on 20 January 2011

Training participants on a field visit to the Sidodadi Group area in Aceh Tengah.


 After potential participants for training from every village had been identified, training on agroforestry techniques was conducted during this reporting period for 17 villages, namely Pilar Jaya, Waq, Sedie Jadi, Hakim Tunggul Naru, Tingkem Bersatu, Tingkem Asli, Panji Mulya I, Panji Mulya II, Nosar Baru, and Gunung Antara villages in Bener Meriah District and Ramong Ara, Kuyun Uken, Kuyun Induk, Pepalang, Wih Lah, Kedelah, and Terang Ulen villages in Aceh Tengah District.  188 farmers took part in this seven-day training programme which included field visit. The balance in the gender of the participants was remarkable with 93 women and 95 men participating.

During the training session, farmers discussed with the instructor about their needs for the improvement of their agroforestry activities. Based on these needs, farmers proposed items to be included in the project’s agroforestry package. Thus, the training on agroforestry was combined with the distribution of agroforestry packages to nucleus farmers on the last day of the training.  In all 208 agroforestry packages were distributed to the farmers, 188 packages were distributed during the training session, while the other packages (for farmers from Ierelop and Pedekok trained in a previous period) were distributed in Takengon. Each of the agroforestry package distributed consisted of seeds, fertilizer and farming equipment.

A training session in progress at the Pegasing Subdistrict Hall

A trainer addresses the participants in a field visit session.

Project staff delivering agroforestry packages for  farmers from Nosar Baru in Bener Meriah  in front of the Bukit Subdistrict Office

Farmers from Nosar Baru and Pilar Jaya Villages in Bener Meriah district loading Agroforestry packages into a truck


Contractual agreement for afforestation activities was made with three groups of farmers at Waq village in Bener Meriah District. This activity covered an area of 37.25 ha. With this achievement, to date, the project has reached the 450 ha afforestation area target.

The trees are growing well in most of the afforestation areas. Several groups have proceeded to the maintenance phase.


What steps are being taken by the LIF to promote the conservation of Leuser?
How will the people of Aceh and North Sumatra directly benefit from the conservation of the Leuser Ecosystem ?
What actions were taken by LIF relating to the earthquake and tsunami disaster in NAD and North Sumatra?

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