Indonesia: HAkA, Google Voyager, take Leuser Ecosystem online

The Jakarta Post 27 Jul 18;

The Natural Forest and Environment of Aceh (HAkA) non-governmental organization has teamed up with Google Earth to promote the Leuser Ecosystem, a 2.6 million-hectare forest conservation area in Aceh and North Sumatra, as a tourist destination to all digitally connected people around the world.

The Leuser Ecosystem project was launched Thursday on Voyager.

Voyager is a Google Earth feature that “provides opportunity to explore” places around the world through videos, pictures and texts, Google Earth outreach program manager Tomomi Matsuoka said on Wednesday.

Matsuoka explained that Google Earth chose HAkA because it had participated in Google’s annual user summit every year since 2015. She also highlighted that the Leuser Ecosysten was the last place on the planet where the endangered Sumatran elephant, tiger, rhinoceros and orangutan coexisted in the wild.

Using Voyager, people around the world could explore the Leuser Ecosystem in eight story panels and learn about its ecological importance.

HAkA social media officer Irham Hudaya Yunardi said the Leuser Ecosystem was home to 8,500 plant species, 382 bird species and more than 105 mammalian species.It was also a life-support system that provided resources and functions, such as clean water and flood control, for millions of people in Aceh. The ecosystem also helped mitigate climate change with its peat swamp forests.(stu)