Gunung Leuser National Park...it's a jungle (and rainforest)!
The area of rainforest where you will go trekking is in the Gunung Leuser National Park (1,094,692 ha) and forms less than half of the Leuser Ecosystem (LE) which is in total 2.6 million hectares of tropical rainforest located in northern Sumatra and Aceh. It is the largest area of rainforest left in Sumatra. Thus only half is protected by law! In 2004 GLNP, as part of the Tropical Rainforest Heritage of Sumatra (TRHS), was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site and in 2011 it was placed on a list of world heritage sites in danger. In 2013 GLNP and the TRHS was declared as being of 'outstanding universal value' (UNESCO) and one of the '..worlds most irreplaceable protected areas for conservation and biodiversity' (IUCN, UNEP). However, also in 2013 the Aceh government announced a spatial plan which may result in 1000s of hectares of forest being reclassified and thus opened up for logging, palm oil and mining concessions.
For further information on the situation and GLNP in general see the following links:
Article in Sydney Morning Herald: "Haven in peril: Aceh activists lose class action over Indonesia's Leuser rainforest."
Article on Mongabay website: "Local NGOs: Ecosystem services, not orangutans, key to saving Leuser."
Guide book on GLNP: "The Gunung Leuser National Park".
Bukit Lawang....more than just orangutan!
If we (Green Hill, all guesthouse, guides, visitors etc )want to ensure that Bukit Lawang has a long term future, continue to protect the forest its wildlife and make sure its there for future generations we need to start to celebrate and promote the amazing variety of biodiversity here...not just focus on orangutans. If there is too much focus on orangutan it puts alot of pressure on them and has negative effects on their behaviour and health.
We need to promote Bukit Lawang as a world class destination for nature tourism(e.g. Galapagos Islands, Great Barrier Reef etc) so when people are thinking where to go for a rainforest holiday they think of Bukit Lawang. Here at Green Hill we celebrate the amazing level of biodiversity here and demonstrate that we have more than just the amazing orangutans. We hope this will promote a more sustainable form of nature based tourism and support a long term future for the human communitys in and around the Bukit Lawang area of Gunung Leuser National Park alongside conserving the rainforest and ALL its inhabitants.
Bukit Lawang means "gateway to hills"....join us in promoting it as gateway to access the amazing biodiversity...tell all your friends, family and fellow travellers about Green Hill and share/like our facebook page.
Why is Sumatra and its environment so special?
Biodiversity (biological diversity) means the variety of living things (plants, animals, micro-organisms) in a particular habitat or in the world as a whole. Approx 1.75 million species have been identified (mostly insects). Scientists estimate there are more than 13 million species in the world. Many species of plant and animal are at risk of extinction (e.g. orangutan, tiger, rhino) but it is the degradation and loss of whole ecosystems (coral reefs, forests) that is the biggest threat to biodiversity. Indonesia has extremely high levels of biodiversity but Sumatra has the highest levels of biodiversity under threat.
- 45% of the 10,000 plant species recorded in West Indo-Malayan region, are found in the Leuser Ecosystem.
- umatra has the most mammals (210 species) of any Indonesian island. Sixteen species of mammal are endemic (not found anywhere else in the wild) to Sumatra, and another 17 are endemic to the adjacent Mentawai Islands. Sumatra’s endemic primate diversity per unit area is unmatched anywhere on Earth.
- umatra’s bird list numbers 582 species. According to BirdLife International, there are 34 Important Bird Areas (IBAs) on Sumatra, of which 54% are outside protected areas and 18% are in critically threatened lowland forests.
- f 300 Sumatran reptile and amphibian species, 69 (23%) are endemic. Sumatra’s freshwater systems hold 270 species, of which 42 (15%) are endemic.
GREEN HILL BIODIVERSITY PROJECT
Our ongoing biodiversity project is a survey using photographic evidence of wildlife spottings in and around Gunung Leuser National Park. This is a passive project where photographs are taken on an ad-hoc basis, as and when sightings occur: during treks, sitting by the river, walking through the village, sitting in Green Hill restaurant. One time when sitting in Green Hill, in the space of only half an hour, 15 different species of butterfly were noted! OK...we didn't know exactly which species they all were but it just goes to show that if we open our eyes and pay attention the amazing biodiversity is all around us.
What we need to do is identify all of them (!!!!) so if you want to have a go, or have particular knowledge/expertise have a look on our Facebook page under the photo albums marked B.o.G.L....which stands for the mind-boggling Biodiversity of Gunung Leuser...and pop your suggestion in the relevant comment box.....You can contribute by sending us your spottings from your time in Bukit Lawang!
We have become a PARTNER of the United Nations flagship biodiversity programme and our project is registered on the following website:
This is an ongoing project and to date we have 316 different spottings…and still counting:
Invertebrates (insects) = 213
Reptiles = 34
Mammals = 14
Birds = 30
Amphibians = 22
Fish = 2