The Leuser Ecosystem, northern Sumatra, Indonesia, contains the world's largest orang-utan Pongo pygmaeus population. We examine the consequences of the recent wave of forest conversion, and legal and illegal logging, on orang-utan numbers in the Leuser Ecosystem. We review density variation inside the Leuser Ecosystem and its causes, and the consequences of selective logging, exhaustive logging and clear-felling for habitat conversion on orang-utan densities. The analysis of the orang-utan's decline is based on information on forest loss, logging intensity, and the delineation of logging concessions and legal changes in land use status. The results indicate a very rapid decline, by c. 45 per cent, from c.. 12,000 in early 1993, over a 6- to 7-year period. During 1998 and 1999, losses occurred at a rate of about 1000 orang-utans per year. At this rate, further losses in the near future are expected to put the survival of Leuser's orang-utans in serious doubt.