Towards reversing this trend, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari has been involved in various efforts for both people and wildlife, with much of our efforts focused on the massively important Leuser Ecosystem, and also the Batang Toru Forest Ecosystem, which houses a unique population of upland forest Sumatran orangutans – with this area also serving as a vital watershed for surrounding communities. This again shows the vital importance of our inclusive and comprehensive approach towards conservation. As it can only succeed when communities are aware not just of the impacts we have on the environment, but also the immensely valuable yet free environmental services it provides.
Founded in early 2000, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) is a non profit organization focused on conservation, environmental education and community development, especially those living adjacent to conservation areas. In response to the emergence of various environmental issues across Sumatra, YEL seeks to protect what is left of unique Leuser Ecosystem, an UNESCO World Heritage and home to some of the most abundant and diverse plant and animal life known to science. In particular, Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari is a founding partner of the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, which aims at increasing the survivability of the Critically Endangered species of the Sumatran orangutan. In running its programmes, YEL refers to the vision and mission as follows:
To preserve the environment with sustainable benefits for the whole community.
To carry out works and efforts for environmental conservation with sustainable benefits for the whole community. To realize this mission, YEL does not rule out the possibility to give broad contribution in the region of North Sumatra, in Indonesia or even for the international communities, prioritising participatory approaches, scientific based sustainable solution and human interests.
YEL has a strong commitment to achieve its vision and mission through following programme activities:
YEL’s Education Division particularly targets communities living around conservation areas through its Outreach and Education Mobile Unit Programme and through an environmental education facility, the Environmental Education Centre Bohorok, located in Bukit Lawang in the Province of North Sumatra.
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme (SOCP) is a joint program by YEL and its Swiss partner foundation PanEco. It aims at increasing the survivability of the Sumatran orangutan through activities focusing mainly in confiscation and evacuation, quarantine, socialization and reintroduction of orangutans to establish new viable populations.
The impressive economic growth Indonesia enjoyed in the early 90ies came partly at the expenses of the country’s remarkably beautiful nature, as booming industries like mining and agroforestry exploited the natural resources at an unprecedented level. Sumatra’s tropical rainforest and its endemic fauna in particular have been affected severely from large-scale deforestation.
In order to reinforce the then already existing PPLH Bohorok (including the Ecolodge Bukit Lawang) and the Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme, now Member of Indonesian Parliament Dr. Sofyan Tan, Indonesian geologist Fred Hehuwat and Swiss biologist and environmentalist Regina Frey, founded Yayasan Ekosistem Lestari (YEL) in early 2000. YEL first primarily served as an umbrella organization and a legal body for the aforementioned programmes and has continued to do so until today.
PanEco is an NGO with headquarters in Berg am Irchel, Switzerland. Since its establishment in 1996, PanEco has been in involved nature and species conservation as well as environmental education in Switzerland and Indonesia. PanEco is a SOCP founding partner and runs the program together with YEL. PanEco’s founder and chairwoman, Swiss biologist and environmentalist Regina Frey, was a driving force behind YEL’s and SOCP’s establishment.
The Orang Utan Coffee Project helps farmers operate ecologically friendly coffee plantations without clearing rainforests. Profits from the sale of Orang Utan Coffee are invested in organic certification, trainings such as organic farming methods, coffee production and processing, marketing, infrastructure and facilities such as processing, storage, and transport. With special trade premiums, the project also supports SOCP.
Most of our activities are carried out under an Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Environment and Forestry of Indonesia and its Technical Implementation Units (UPT), namely Balai Besar Taman Nasional Gunung Leuser (BBTNGL), Balai Besar Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Sumatera Utara (BBKSDA-SU) and Balai Konservasi Sumber Daya Alam Aceh (BKSDA Aceh).
The Sumatran Orangutan Conservation Programme eats up by far the biggest slice of our budget.