In the Media

Malaysia deforestation is three times faster than rest of Asia combined

February 21, 2012

The Huffington Post


New satellite imagery shows Malaysia is destroying forests more than three times faster than all of Asia combined, and its carbon-rich peat soils of the Sarawak coast are being stripped even faster, according to a study released Tuesday.


The report commissioned by the Netherlands-based Wetlands International says Malaysia is uprooting an average 2 percent of the rain forest a year on Sarawak, its largest state on the island of Borneo, or nearly 10 percent over the last five years. Most of it is being converted to palm oil plantations, it said. The deforestation rate for all of Asia during the same period was 2.8 percent, it said.


In the last five years, 353,000 hectares (872,263 acres) of Malaysia’s peatlands were deforested, or one-third of the swamps which have stored carbon from decomposed plants for millions of years.


“Total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that for entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forest is 11.7 times as much,” the report said.


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Keywords: Asia, deforestation, deforestation rate, Malaysia, Sarawak, satellite

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