Total Land Area
56,776 km² 55.7 % Forest
Deforestation Trend
18.0 % 2017
Original Forest Area
33,485 km²
Current Forest Area
31,600 km² 0.221 % of Global Total
Total Area Deforested
1,885 km²
Total Forest Carbon
449 M MtC 0.283 % of Global Total

Aceh lies between 20 and 60 degrees north of the equator at the extreme north of the Island of Sumatra and across the Strait of Malacca from Peninsular Malaysia. It is the most western province in Indonesia and has a unique history strongly embedded in a social structure reflecting the importance of Islam to the peoples’ day to day lives. Within a formal administrative structure common to Indonesia there is a system of informal leadership (mukim) which identifies local communities strongly held within religious bonds. These communities, with their religious base, are a strong part of Acehnese society. The Province was granted Special Autonomy in 2001. They are key agents mobilized by the Governor as part of the Province’s REDD initiatives for climate change mitigation and adaptation.

The Province occupies an area of almost 57 000 km² and supports a population of 4.3 million of whom most live in rural environments. The population is of mixed ethnic origin with original Acehnese complemented by communities from Java, elsewhere in Sumatra and ethnic Chinese. GDP in 2008 was USD 3.8 million of which the agricultural sector, including forestry and estate crops, contributed about USD 900 million. Aceh has been a major source of oil and natural gas production and this sector is still the main contributor to GDP. Mean per capita income is USD 881.3 with levels of poverty and the HDI similar to the national average.

As LNG production declines the government is focusing on a green development strategy. Green Aceh seeks to optimize the use of its hydro generating potential; implement sustainable forest management, retain and protect its lowlands for food production, to be mindful of the importance of waste management and land use to reducing disaster risk, and to carefully regulate the use of its non-renewable resources. This approach to an economic future with a low carbon footprint is consistent with national policy and underlies the Province’s commitment to sustainable use of its forests, reflected in a significant reclassification of forest use zones to Protection Forest and Conservation Reserves and a moratorium on commercial logging.

Prior to the introduction of commercial logging the estimated area of forest was just over 36 000 km². The remaining forest area of 33 400 km. Like Papua, Aceh has historically low rates of deforestation which attest to the difficulty of large scale logging in steep uplands and the impact of a long, armed struggle for independence. These low rates will influence the approach taken to establishing baselines for future carbon trade. Over 80% of the remaining forest area is designated for nature conservation and protection purposes, emphasizing the importance of developing non-destructive uses for the forests such as tourism and payments for environmental services, including REDD. Current estimates of the carbon sequestered in the forests of Aceh total 602 million tonnes CO₂e. The forests of Aceh contain the biggest remaining populations of Sumatran Rhino, tiger and orangutan. The Leuser Ecosystem Reserve and Ulu Masen Forest Reserve are globally significant forests and are seeking support from REDD investment in their future management.

Additional information can be found on the GCF Impact Platform.

Sahrial Wahab
Head of Environmental & Forestry Agency
Head of Development Planning Agency
Irwandi Yusuf
Population of State/Province [1]
4,494,410 1.9 % of National Population
Urban vs. Rural Population [2]
Rural 80.67 %
Urban 19.32 %
Ethnic Groups
Acehnese 79.00 %
Gayo Lut 7.00 %
Gayo Luwes 5.00 %
Alas 4.00 %
Singkil 3.00 %
Simeulue 2.00 %
State/Province GDP [3]
IDR 147
Annual Per Capita Income [4]
IDR 28,250,498
Human Development Index [5]
GDP Breakdown [6]
Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry & Fisheries 23.86 %
Trade, Hotel & Restaurant 13.71 %
Mining & Quarrying 9.96 %
Services 9.85 %
Transport & Communication 9.37 %
Construction 8.61 %
Processing Industry 7.54 %
Main Exports [7]
Mineral fuels, mineral oils and products of their distillation, inorganic chemicals, fertilizers, ores, slag, ash, cocoa and cocoa preparations
Forest Status (1)
Major Vegetation Types
Secondary Dryland Forests 17,295 km²
Primary Forest 12,048 km²
Shrubs 6,901 km²
Agriculture Dry land mixed 5,703 km²
Agriculture Dry land 3,430 km²
Rice fields 3,198 km²
Plantation 1,839 km²
Secondary Swamp Forest 1,144 km²
Savannah 1,139 km²
Swamp 959 km²
Open Ground 884 km²
Tambak 716 km²
Crops 464 km²
Water body 324 km²
Secondary Mangrove Forest 294 km²
Settlement 219 km²
Primary Swamp Forest 98 km²
Forest Management
Conserved Forest Area 14,277 km²
Deforestation Rates [8]
Drivers of Deforestation [9]

According to Aceh's Strategic REDD+ Action Plan (2014), the primary drivers of deforestation are:

  1. Weak compliance with the spatial structure
  2. Tenure conflicts
  3. Ineffective Forest management institutions
  4. Ongoing post-conflict livelihoods transformation
  5. Policy incentives and disincentives have not been implemented
  6. Government (Political Will)
  7. Conflicts over authority to regulate land use change
  8. Perceptions of forest areas and natural resources are administratively restricted
  9. Lack of alternative sources of wood
  10. Weak Law enforcement
(1) Due to different methodological approaches and base years, Forest Status data fields may differ slightly. Data sources for each field are listed below.
Aceh Dalam Angka 2014, Hal. 42
BPS-SP 2012 Aceh, hal 113
BPS 2016
BPS 2016
Aceh dalam angka 2012, BPS
Aceh dalam angka 2012 hal 350 , BPS
Ministry of Environment and Forestry 2018