Geographically, North Sumatra Province is located between 1° to 4° north, and 98° to 100° east, and covers an area of 71,680 km. It has huge potential with respect to its wealth of natural resources and high levels of biodiversity, both flora and fauna. Biological diversity comprises several levels, each of which has its own characteristics, and some of which are unique or endemic to the area. Various aspects of diversity are important for people’s basic needs and welfare, and provide an ecological balance to the use of industrial raw materials.
Tere are several particularly rich and diverse ecosystems in North Sumatra, including the tropical rainforest ecosystems of Batang Toru, Batang Gadis , the Leuser Ecosystem, and Deleng Barus, among several others. Within these forests exists a wealth of biodiversity, including Rafflesia flowers, pitcher plants, Sumatran orchids, tapir, Sumatran orangutan, Sumatran tiger, Sumatran Elephant, Sumatran rhinoceros, Sumatran goat (or Serow) and a long list of bird, reptile and am- phibian species.
One of the most important and notable species we possess in North Sumatra is the Sumatran orangutan. Tis species is increasingly threatened with extinction due to degradation of its forest habitat and poaching. Necessary protection measures are therefore needed to prevent extinction of the Sumatran orangutan. To address this, and to continue to reap the benefits provided by the Sumatran orangutan and its habitat, I signed a joint declaration in 2008 to protect the remaining forests and critical ecosystems in North Sumatra, along with the Governors of Sumatra’s other Provinces and the Minister of Forestry, Minister of Environment, Minister of Domestic Affairs and the Minister of Public Works. It is a fact that all of Sumatra’s remaining wild orangutans, and a large proportion of the island’s remaining forests, are in the Provinces of North Sumatra and Aceh. For this reason North Sumatra is at the forefront in implementing this commitment throughout the island.
We have taken several practical steps specifically to implement it. For example, the provincial gov- ernment has proposed the Batang Toru Forest area a critically important water catchment area for local people and home to the most southern remaining wild Sumatran orangutan population, as a protected forest in the Province’s proposed new spatial plan. We will also develop economic sectors and provide benefits to local communities and nature conservation. We actively promote and en- courage tourism development in environmentally sensitive areas together with local communities, around Lake Toba, and along the borders of the Gunung Leuser National Park.