The Sumatran rainforest, one of the most threatened ecosystems on the planet, just received a new boost. The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) recently earned the rights to manage 100,000 acres of the imperiled forest bordering Bukit Tigapuluh National Park.
Initially this stretch of rainforest was designated for logging. This would have devastated both the endangered wildlife and indigenous peoples who live there. But now this area, known as Thirty Hills, will be managed sustainably. Some of its 100,000 acres will be used to generate income for local people, while the majority will be strictly protected.
Apart from being great news, for me this story illustrates how deforestation impacts both people and wildlife. Many tropical rainforests are not only home to threatened species, but also to vanishing cultures. Indigenous peoples should not be forced to give up their ways of life to satisfy the Global North’s demand for lumber. This is yet another reason to conserve these spectacular ecosystems.