How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia – Indonesia currently has the highest rate of deforestation in the world, surpassing Brazil and having five times more natural forest cover. Background image: Sumatra rainforest.

Despite high-level commitments to combat deforestation, concessions on logging and a nationwide ban on new forest planting, deforestation in Indonesia is increasing, according to a new study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. Annual forest loss in this Southeast Asian country is currently among the highest in the world, surpassing even Brazil.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

The study was based on analysis of high-resolution satellite data led by researchers at the University of Maryland (UMD). Unlike previous research, the new paper distinguishes between the loss of natural forests — which it calls “primary forests” — and the cyclical exploitation of industrial plantations. How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

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Research shows that between 2000 and 2012, Indonesia lost more than 6 million hectares of natural forests. Worryingly, despite billions of dollars spent by scientists, the country’s forest loss is increasing. Deforestation The most deforestation occurred in 2012, the last year of the study.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

According to the study, Indonesia lost 15.79 million hectares of forest from 2000 to the end of 2012. Of that, 38% or 6.02 million hectares were natural or “primitive” forests.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

“We have estimated increased loss of primary forest during the moratorium, which means that the moratorium has not yet slowed clearing and in fact may have accelerated the process.” “Deforestation in 2012 was greater in Indonesia [840,000 hectares] than in Brazil [460,000 hectares].”

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

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This result is in stark contrast to the Indonesian government’s claim that deforestation has decreased rapidly in recent years. Part of the difference comes from the classification of forest cover and loss by Indonesia’s Ministry of Forestry. The ministry considers industrial plantations as forest cover and calculates the loss in areas designated as part of “forest”, which accounts for two-thirds of the country’s land area. Therefore, deforestation occurring outside official forests is not included in the official figures. How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

However, research still identifies an increasing trend of deforestation within the official forest sector, especially in areas planned to be converted for industrial purposes, usually acacia and eucalyptus plantations. However, research shows that deforestation increases in areas where deforestation is restricted and prohibited by law: production forests, protected forests, and protected forests.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

“40% of the total loss of primary forests on national forest land occurred in limited land-use practices or limited forest exploitation, and 22% in managed production forests,” the authors write. Forest exploitation is prohibited.

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A tropical forest in Aceh, Sumatra. The finding that selected forests are more susceptible to deforestation than old-growth forests is consistent with other studies. High-value forests can become significantly cheaper for commercial exploitation, increasing pressure to fully log them for industrial forestry.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

More than half of the loss (3 million hectares or 51%) occurred in Indonesia’s most endangered lowland forests. However, deforestation in wetlands is increasing even faster, accounting for 2.6 million hectares or 43% of total forest loss.

“Easier access to lowland forests has made primary forests targets for logging and subsequent conversion to high-value land uses. Indonesia’s wetland forests have historically been largely intact. However, over the past two decades, the conversion of floodplain forests, including wetlands, to agricultural and industrial land uses has increased.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

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Wetland deforestation is particularly evident in Sumatra, where peatland has become the target of industrial plantation expansion to produce palm oil, pulp and paper.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

“Sumatra occupies more wetland landscape than either Kalimantan or Papua, reflecting the depletion of accessible lowland forests,” they write. “The loss of primary wetland forests during the study period in Sumatra was 1.53 million hectares compared to 1.21 million hectares in the lowlands.”

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

Sumatra also has the highest area of ​​natural forest lost, with 2.86 million hectares. Kalimantan, the Indonesian name for Borneo, is next with 2.38 million hectares. Sulawesi came in third, losing 396,000 hectares during this period.

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Carbon emissions from deforestation and peatland degradation have made Indonesia the third largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world for several years.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

Papua, Indonesia’s half of New Guinea, has lost only 261,000 hectares, despite having Indonesia’s largest forest area. The authors note that Papua is “in a renaissance phase of forestry” compared to other major islands in Indonesia.

Almost all natural forest loss occurred in previously logged areas, indicating that commercial logging remains a major cause of deforestation in Indonesia. Only 2% of the forest lost during the study period was old-growth or “primary” forest.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

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Overall, the results show that Indonesia’s stated efforts to slow deforestation are not enough to reverse the country’s high rate of deforestation. These efforts, with the political support of Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and financial support from Norway, include a move to reform the country’s forest management bureaucracy and a national ban on nearly 14 million hectares of forest and wasteland with new concessions.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

But while seemingly well-intentioned, the ban has been heavily criticized by environmentalists from the start for failing to expand existing exemptions. That exclusion has destroyed millions of hectares of forest. Meanwhile, loopholes in mining and energy crops such as sugarcane mean large areas can still be exempted from the ban.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

While the study period ended in December 2012, satellite data from Global Forest Watch showed that deforestation in Indonesia remained high in 2013 and increased in the first few months of 2014. Click on the image for details.

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“Although Indonesia recently introduced a ban on underground deforestation, as of May 2011, the ban does not appear to have had the desired effect,” they wrote. “In fact, the first full year of this study, 2012, saw the highest rate of loss of primary forest cover in lowlands and wetlands. Questions of prohibition as a cause of increased deforestation deserve investigation.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

Despite the ban, there are several factors contributing to the increase in deforestation in Indonesia. Commodity prices have rebounded since the global financial crisis, providing a strong economic incentive for increased forest conversion. Also, concerns that the ban could eventually extend to existing high-carbon lands would encourage concessionaires to deforest as much as they can. How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

However, there are some encouraging signs for Indonesia’s forests. The president’s push to reform forest management institutions is finally moving forward with the creation of the REDD+ Authority, which seeks to implement cross-cutting changes to support programs that reduce emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. At the same time, a series of rulings in Indonesian courts strengthened indigenous claims to forest lands and held companies accountable for the damage they caused to forests. However, most importantly, the private sector is beginning to play a leadership role in better forest management. Over the past three years, Indonesia’s largest paper, pulp and palm oil companies have established deforestation policies to commit to protecting forests with high carbon stocks and areas of high conservation value. These companies, including Golden Agri Resources and Asia Pulp & Paper, are now lobbying the government to enact legislation supporting these policies.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

Deforestation In Borneo

In addition to these measures, transparency around Indonesia’s forests is also improving. Earlier this year, the World Resources Institute, in partnership with UMD, Google and dozens of other organizations and agencies (including a co-author of the Nature Climate Change paper), launched Global Forest Watch, a tool that maps the world’s forests. In Indonesia, Global Forest Watch includes previously undisclosed data on forestry concessions and information on protected areas. It also includes a deforestation warning system, and NASA’s fire data provides monthly information that enables governments to take action when deforestation occurs. But doing so requires strong political commitment, according to Margono.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

“Technically, we have a good cooperative relationship with the forest ministry,” she said. “The politics of official figures and data sharing is another matter.”

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

* The study excludes deforestation outside of the Brazilian Amazon, stating that Indonesia has the world’s highest rate of deforestation. When deforestation is included in Brazil’s other forests – the Caatinga, Cerrado and Mata Atlantica – the country’s forest loss is higher than Indonesia’s.

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Citation: Belinda Arunarwati Margono, Peter V. Potapov, Svetlana Turubanova, Fred Stoll, and Matthew C. Hansen. Loss of primary forest cover in Indonesia 2000-2012. Natural climate change. Published Online: June 29, 2014 | DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE2277 JAKARTA – The country’s deforestation rate continued to decline for the third year in a row, reaching the lowest level in history in 2021-2022, Indonesian officials said. But claims of improving trends are hampered by long-standing debate over how Indonesia defines deforestation.

How Much Rainforest Is Left In Indonesia

The country, which has the world’s third-largest tropical forest area, has lost 104,000 hectares (257,000 acres), data from the Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows.

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