Deforestation in Southeast Asia
Forests cover just over 30% of the global land area, yet they harbour a vast majority of the world’s wildlife species – including 80% of the world’s amphibians, 75% of birds, and 68% of mammals. But since 1990, over 420 million hectares of forest have been lost as a result of human activity, largely due to deforestation and land clearing for agricultural purposes and logging. Southeast Asia has one of the highest rates of deforestation in the world to support the region’s agricultural and food production, as well as other raw material industries. We discuss what was the major cause of deforestation in Southeast Asia and look ahead to the future.
Southeast Asia, including Indonesia, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Thailand, is home to nearly 15% of the world’s tropical forests, which makes it all the more attractive as a deforestation hotspot. The region has one of the highest rates of deforestation, losing at least 1.2% of its forests annually, which is comparable only to Latin America where deforestation rates in the Amazon account for one-third of global tropical deforestation.