In the Province of Aceh, we aim to protect the remaining natural forest on private, state and community land with a specific focus on the Leuser ecosystem. In partnership with the provincial and district governments, palm oil and other companies as well as NGOs, we will develop and implement a green growth strategy that will directly support the conservation of the 2,6 million hectares Leuser ecosystem, while supporting the sustainable production of palm oil and other commodities.  

Aceh’s Leuser ecosystem is one of the most biodiverse locations on Earth, home to Sumatran orangutans, elephants, tigers, rhinos and sun bears and many others. It also contains large areas of peatland some up to 8 m deep. And the province overall has a forest cover of more than three million hectares that acts as a significant carbon sink.

An estimated 4 million people rely on the water provided by the Leuser ecosystem.

Aceh is increasingly becoming an important producer of oil palm, rubber, coffee and other agricultural commodities. This is critical in reviving economic development. Yet agricultural expansion is going hand-in-hand with deforestation and degradation of the Leuser ecosystem and other forests.

Together with the Achenese government, palm oil, rubber and other companies, we find a balance between large scale commodity production and maintaining natural forest and peat ecosystems for biodiversity conservation, ecosystem services and use by local communities.

We currently focus on Aceh Tamiang and Aceh Timur districts. Our activities include:

  1. Developing a participatory, sustainable land-use plan at district level
  2. Creating financial incentives for sustainable production
  3. Developing green growth strategy at provincial level.
The Landscape

Total land cover 5.8 million ha
Total forest cover 3.2 million ha of which 2.6 million is in Leuser or Ulu Masen ecosystems
Aceh Timur 546,000 ha
Aceh Tamiang 215,000 ha
Forest loss 1996 – 2013 320,000 ha
Landscape features highlands, mountains, tropical rainforest, Leuser ecosystem, rich in biodiversity
Main commodities palm oil, rubber, forestry products, rice
Main causes of forest loss deforestation for agriculture

Green growth plan

We work with the provincial and district level governments to create green growth strategies and an enabling legal framework & enforcement.

Further, we convene palm oil, rubber and other companies, government and communities around Leuser ecosystem to develop, implement, and monitor a participatory land-use and management plan with positive impact on community livelihoods, business performance, and forest protection.

Production, Protection and Inclusion

In Aceh Timur and Aceh Tamiang, we collaborate closely with the district governments to develop PPI compacts. We create financial benefits for sustainable production (such as increased yields and market access); forest protection (for example by making investments in production conditional to protection results); and smallholder inclusion in value chains.
Driving market demand

IDH works at the market end, especially in Europe, to drive the uptake of the sustainably produced commodities in the landscape. Our market convening work also creates a stronger business case for the companies on the ground to produce more sustainably.
To drive the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, IDH and MVO (the Dutch Oils and Fats Industry) established the European Sustainable Palm Oil, or ESPO, project in 2015. The project was initiated to stimulate the uptake of more sustainable palm oil in Europe, and its objective is to achieve ‘100% sustainable palm oil in Europe by 2020’. ESPO works in close collaboration with various National Palm Oil Initiatives on sustainable palm oil, the RSPO and umbrella EU associations, such as Caobisco (confectionary), Fediol (refineries) and Imace (margarines), and connects to the green sourcing areas.



Title Type Year
Landscapes Information Brief: IDH’s approach to sustainable landscapes Brochure 2018
IDH Landscape program Factsheet 2018
Indonesia Landscape Factsheet Factsheet 2018
Conveners Guide for Building Landscape Coalitions Report 2017
IDH Landscapes Forum Report Report 2017

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