|Biosphere Reserve Information|
This biosphere reserve and national park covers a vast area of tropical rain forest in northern Sumatra with a range of ecosystems: lowland evergreen dipterocarp forest, lower and upper montane rain forest, peat swamp forest, forest over limestone, sub-alpine meadows and heathlands, freshwater lakes and rivers, and sulphur mineral pools. The megafauna in the biosphere reserve includes Sumatran rhinoceros (Dicerorhinus sumatrensis), Sumatran tiger (Panthera tigris) and Asian elephant (Elephas maximus).
Many different ethnic groups live in and around Gunung Leuser (e.g. Pakpak, Koro, Melayli, Alas), using natural resources such as wood, damar, rattan and fish for income. Local people also benefit from the rapidly developing ecotourism with activities such as wildlife viewing, jungle trekking, river rafting, caving and horseback tours. Problems that the biosphere reserve faces today include the extensive forest fires that affected many parts of Sumatra in 1997-98, logging and habitat disturbance. In the buffer zone, the conversion of mixed forest into tree and crop plantations is a major trend in land use.
Research has been undertaken in the area since 1937. Present ongoing research focuses on monitoring of climate, biodiversity, rivers and springs, behaviour and ecology of primates and on land use and environmental perceptions of local people.
A seven-year partnership project has been set up between the government of Indonesia and the European Union in 1995 in conserving the Leuser ecosystem area – about 2,5 million hectares of tropical rain forest which also covers the biosphere reserve area. The Indonesian government adopted a new mode of conservation management by giving a 30 years conservation concession to a non-profit making and non-governmental organisation, the Leuser International Foundation (LIF).
|Major ecosystem type||Mixed mountain and highland systems with complex zonation|
|Major habitats & land cover types|
|Location||02°55' to 04°05'N; 96°55' to 98°30'E|
|Transition area(s) when given|
|Altitude (metres above sea level)||0 to +3,466|
|Administrative authorities||Mount Leuser National Park|
|Last updated: 18/09/2007|