Environment Planet Earth Sumatra's Remaining Forests Get Government Pledge of Protection By Mat McDermott Writer Yogamaya: Registered yoga teacher New York University: MS, Global Affairs Burlington College: BA, writing and literature. Mat McDermott is a writer, photographer, film-maker, nature lover, and accomplished yogi our editorial process Twitter Twitter Mat McDermott Updated October 11, 2018 Migrated Image Share Twitter Pinterest Email Planet Earth Conservation Weather Outdoors We may be squandering our children's natural inheritance, losing up to $5 trillion a year in natural capital, by chopping down the world's forests, but the Indonesian government has finally done something to stop the destruction. Announced yesterday at the IUCN World Conservation Congress in Barcelona, Indonesian politicians have signed onto to a plan which it is hoped with protect the remaining forests and critical ecosystems on the island of Sumatra: 48% of Sumatra Deforested Since 1985Since the 1980s Sumatra has lost about half of its forest cover to logging and agriculture. As the WWF points out, many of these forests sit on top of some of the deepest peat soils in the world. So when the trees are removed, not only is animal habitat lost and the carbon sequestration potential of that land radically diminished, but those soils start oxidizing and releasing all their stored carbon into the atmosphere. In addition to the increased effect on global warming this deforestation causes, animals whose habitat is being eliminated include such iconic species as tigers, elephants, orangutan and rhinos. Sumatra is the only place on the planet where these four species naturally exist side by side. Sumatran Governors to Work Together to Protect ForestsSpeaking of what this agreement entails, Indonesia's Deputy Minister of Environment Hermien Roosita had this to say: This agreement commits all the governors of Sumatra's ten provinces, along with the Indonesia Ministries of Forestry, Environment, Interior and Public Works, to restore critical ecosystems in Sumatra, and protect areas with high conservation value. The governors will now work together to develop ecosystem-based spatial plans that will serve as the basis for future development on the island. Government and Non-Government Action NeededWWF and other conservation groups working in Sumatra will be working with the Indonesian government to help support this political agreement.Noor Hidayat, the Director of Conservation Areas at the Indonesian Ministry of Forestry calls the agreement "a broad based effort involving local and national government officials, financial institutions, NGOs, and communities," and says that all of these groups must work together to make this commitment a reality. Sign Petition to Show SupportThe WWF is asking people to sign an e-petition to thank the Indonesian government for protecting Sumatra's forests.