Indonesia: Quantifying changes in the rates of forest clearing in Indonesia from 1990 to 2005 using remotely sensed data sets
July, 2009. Matthew C Hansen, Stephen V Stehman, Peter V Potapov, Belinda Arunarwati, Fred Stolle and Kyle Pittman. Environmental Research Letters, Volume 4, Number 3. 12 pages. DOI: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/3/034001
Timely and accurate data on forest change within Indonesia is required to provide government, private and civil society interests with the information needed to improve forest management. The forest clearing rate in Indonesia is among the highest reported by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), behind only Brazil in terms of forest area lost. While the rate of forest loss reported by FAO was constant from 1990 through 2005 (1.87 Mha yr−1), the political, economic, social and environmental drivers of forest clearing changed at the close of the last century. We employed a consistent methodology and data source to quantify forest clearing from 1990 to 2000 and from 2000 to 2005. Results show a dramatic reduction in clearing from a 1990s average of 1.78 Mha yr−1 to an average of 0.71 Mha yr−1 from 2000 to 2005. However, annual forest cover loss indicator maps reveal a near-monotonic increase in clearing from a low in 2000 to a high in 2005. Results illustrate a dramatic downturn in forest clearing at the turn of the century followed by a steady resurgence thereafter to levels estimated to exceed 1 Mha yr−1 by 2005. The lowlands of Sumatra and Kalimantan were the site of more than 70% of total forest clearing within Indonesia for both epochs; over 40% of the lowland forests of these island groups were cleared from 1990 to 2005. The method employed enables the derivation of internally consistent, national-scale changes in the rates of forest clearing, results that can inform carbon accounting programs such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation in Developing Countries (REDD) initiative.
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Keywords: d. Forest & Emissions Assessments, m. MRV, Other Publications, Asia, carbon mapping, change detection, deforestation, Forest mapping, Indonesia, REDD, remote sensing