Thick smoke regularly covers large parts of Indonesia, causing smog and poor air quality in cities and towns all through Malaysia and in Singapore. The haze, caused by burning Indonesian tropical forest, visualizes the extremely rapid forest loss in the region. This years’ decision by Singapore to hold the actors causing the fires economically responsible for the consequences, however, may be seen as indication of increasing political will to handle the problem of deforestation. It is hard to find reliable forest statistics in Indonesia, and there are huge variations regarding extent of existing forest and deforestation trends, depending on the source used (see p.86). There is little doubt, however, that Indonesia’s deforestation is among the highest of all rainforest countries. The country’s current annual forest loss is 6,850 km2 according to FAO, and almost twice as high according to a study by the University of Maryland (UMD). Even if one uses the FAO figures, considered too low by most sources, Indonesia loses more forest than the Brazilian Amazon in spite of the latter being a more than three times bigger forest area.
From collection: State of the Rainforest