Form International and the Leuser Conservation Forum are partnering on an initiative aimed at transforming a former logging concession into a conservation and restoration program. Thanks to a financial investment from the Rimba collective, an initiative of Lestari Capital (Singapore), we are embarking on a project dedicated to the restoration and safeguarding of vital forest regions in Indonesia.
In the largest remaining rainforests in the Aceh Province of Sumatra, a passionate group of individuals is fighting to protect the delicate balance of nature against a backdrop of encroachment and deforestation. Rudi Putra, a dedicated conservationist, has been a driving force in this endeavour for the past two decades. His commitment to safeguarding the forest and its inhabitants is not just a job, but a way of life. In 2014 he created the Leuser Conservation Forum, which now employs around 500 persons throughout the Leuser ecosystem. For this article, Rudi shared his insights about the ongoing collaboration between his organization, Leuser Conservation Forum, and Form International, aiming to preserve the remarkable ecosystem of Eastern Sumatra’s forests.
Rudi’s connection to the forest runs deep, intertwined with his childhood and heritage. He brightly recalls the magic of wonderful mornings spent in the forest, listening to the symphony of birdsong, sounds of animals, and feeling the healing power of the environment. His connection to the forest is both spiritual and practical, as the forest serves as a vital water source for the communities living in the region, and its protection is a foundation of their survival.
The collaboration between the Leuser Conservation Forum and Form International seeks to protect an expansive landscape that spans nearly 150,0000 hectares within the Leuser Ecosystem of 2,600,000 ha, embracing not only the forest itself but also the numerous of species that call it home. The Leuser Ecosystem is the last area worldwide where viable populations of elephants, rhinoceros, tigers, and orangutans live together. Rudi describes this ambitious project as an effort to save more than just trees:
“It’s a mission to create harmony between the forest and the people who depend on it. This is particularly crucial in the face of numerous threats, including illegal logging, encroachment, and the delicate balance required to coexist with the majestic yet vulnerable elephant population”, – Rudi Putra.
One of the most significant aspects of the project is the emphasis on community involvement and leadership. Rudi believes that a single voice can inspire many and emphasizes the importance of empowering local leaders who care deeply about the forest’s future. Through the Leuser Foundations efforts, these leaders form strong bonds within their communities, uniting them in a common goal: protecting their forests, livelihoods, and the delicate web of life they depend upon.
Rudi’s most cherished vision for the future is a world where both nature and humanity thrive harmoniously. He sees immense potential in collaboration between various stakeholders, including communities, private sectors, and government bodies. As the world struggles with climate change and environmental degradation, Rudi remains steadfast in his belief that it’s never too late to act. His words resound with hope, optimism, and a call to action, encouraging us all to play a part in safeguarding the planet we share.
As Rudi’s story explains, we gain insight into the intricate tapestry of Sumatra’s forests and the passionate individuals working tirelessly to preserve it. The Leuser Foundation and Form International established their partnership in order to manage larger areas, develop innovative wildlife monitoring techniques and attract more funding from the corporate sector. For Rudi, it demonstrates the power of cooperation, emphasizing the interconnection of all living beings and the urgent need to protect the world’s remaining natural wonders. Rudi’s journey reminds us that the fight for conservation is not just about saving forests; it’s about securing a future that we can proudly pass down to the generations that follow.
If you want to know more about our work with The Leuser Foundation, please contact Peter de Haan: email@example.com.