Population growth Population growth is a serious concern for forest conservation be- cause human population growth negatively affects the total area of remaining forest for the south-east Asian region in general (Sodhi et al. 2010). In Aceh and North Sumatra, human settle- ments are still primarily concentrated in the relatively flat coastal zones, particularly along the north and east coasts, and in alluvial areas elsewhere (Map 15), but population growth in more remote inland areas is also occurring at a rapid pace (McCarthy 2006).
Overall population growth in the region has been very rapid during the past nine decades. In 1920, the human popula-
tions of Aceh and North Sumatra provinces were 736,348 and 1,961,678, respectively (Volkstelling 1922). By 2008, these had risen dramatically to 4,293,915 and 13,042,317 (BPS 2010a) (Figure 3).
Te population in this region remains predominantly rural. In Aceh, more than 90% of people in the inland regions and 50% of those in coastal areas still rely on agriculture as their prin- ciple source of income (Joshi et al. 2008). Natural population growth of agriculture-dependent local people is a challenge as people need more new land for farming. An additional factor that influences population growth is internal migration. Te