Biodiversity A Tourism Asset
A new study says Indonesia’s deforestation rate is the world’s highest, increasing greenhouse gas emissions and threatening animals and livelihoods. A grim new study says Indonesia’s forests are disappearing so rapidly that the country has now replaced Brazil as the world’s No. 1 deforester.
The Nature Climate Change journal reported that Indonesia lost 840,000 hectares of natural forest in 2012, compared with 460,000 hectares in Brazil, even though Indonesia’s forest is a quarter of the size of the Amazon rainforest. Potentially making matters worse, the rate of loss in Indonesia is twice the rate reported by the government.
According to Greenpeace, the destruction of forests is being driven by the expansion of the palm oil and pulp and paper industries. The deforestation is increasing greenhouse gas emissions, pushing animals such as Sumatran tigers to the brink of extinction and wrecking the livelihoods of local communities that depend on natural resources such as fishing.
The study warned that developers are increasingly turning to Indonesia’s carbon-rich wetlands. Tropical forest advocate Glenn Hurowitz, a managing director at Climate Advisers, said the latter finding is consistent with what he’s observed during his visits to Indonesia.
“Tropical rain forests are one of the world’s richest carbon sinks, and peatlands are many times more powerful carbon sinks,” Hurowitz told Scientific American. “It’s the height of insanity, desperation or greed to destroy a peatland rainforest.”