For the first time, Indonesia has surpassed Brazil as the nation with the highest deforestation rate of primary forestlands.
Despite a moratorium on deforestation in 2011, satellite images found that the country’s ancient forest have shrunk much faster than expected. The moratorium has had little effect so far, according to a new study recently published in the journal Nature Climate Change.
Third-largest Emitter of Greenhouse Gasses
The figures show Indonesia is possibly the single largest deforester in the world. They also rank as the third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases due to the high rate of deforestation.
Indonesia’s peat lands store huge amounts of carbon and methane, while the trees and soil in other parts of the country store carbon.
Burning the peat lands and chopping down trees for commercial uses releases the stored greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, increasing temperatures globally.
Most of the destruction is happening in lowland and peat forests in Kalimantan and Sumatra—the only habitat wherein tigers, rhinoceroses, elephants, and orangutan live together.
Brazil Reduced Losses
Indonesia has already lost about 6.02 million hectares of primary-forest lands between 2000 and 2012 and the rate is accelerating, according to researcher Belinda Arunarwati Margono.
In 2012 alone, deforestation in Indonesia reached 840,000 hectares, nearly twice the rate of Brazil, which was 460,000 hectares. The latter has managed to reduce losses in the recent years.