-(Shocking Nature News)-
Indonesia is experiencing one of the highest rates of tropical forest loss in the world.
Indonesia was still densely forested as recently as 1950. Forty percent of the forests existing in 1950 were cleared in the following 50 years. In round numbers, forest cover fell from 162 million ha to 98 million ha.
The rate of forest loss is accelerating. On average, about 1 million ha per year were cleared in the 1980s, rising to about 1.7 million ha per year in the first part of the 1990s. Since 1996, deforestation appears to have increased to an average of 2 million ha per year.
Indonesia’s lowland tropical forests, the richest in timber resources and biodiversity, are most at risk. They have been almost entirely cleared in Sulawesi and are predicted to disappear in Sumatra by 2005 and Kalimantan by 2010 if current trends continue.
Nearly one half of Indonesia’s forests are fragmented by roads, other access routes, and such developments as plantations.
Deforestation in Indonesia is largely the result of a corrupt political and economic system that regarded natural resources, especially forests, as a source of revenue to be exploited for political ends and personal gain.