Deal reached to halt deforestation on Sumatra
Indonesian authorities have agreed to halt deforestation on the island of Sumatra, which has lost about half of its forest cover to logging since 1985. Conservationists joined Sumatran tigers, orangutans, rhinos, and elephants in applauding the deal, launched at the World Conservation Congress being held this week. Deforestation has increased the impact of flooding and forest fires on the island, not to mention cramping the style of the 200 mammal species and 580 bird species that live there: in one of Sumatra’s 10 provinces, the elephant population has dropped 84 percent and the tiger population 70 percent in the last 20 years. In addition, more than 13 percent of the island’s trees grow in peat, which stores vast amounts of carbon that would be let loose if the trees were removed.