“The silencing of the rain forest is a double deforestation, not only of trees but a deforestation of the mind's music, medicine, and knowledge.
- Jay Griffiths
Palm oil plantations are rapidly displacing old growth forests.
Out of control
Deforestation from palm oil plantations in Indonesia averages 300,000 hectares - about half the size of Delaware - each year.
Borneo has lost 31 million hectares of forest, an area the size of Germany, since 1990.
Forests are disappearing
More than 300,000 hectares of old-growth forests are being destroyed each year in Indonesia.
Next door in Malaysia the situation is nearly as bad.
Because these forests grow on carbon-rich peat lands, the fires generate massive amounts of greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global climate change.
Learn more at the Center for International Forestry Research
At the present rate, 75% of Borneo's forests are expected to be gone by the year 2020.
A sequence of detailed vegetation maps shows the loss of forest cover over a 70 year period. Starting in 1950 when the forests were virtually intact, the animation extends to 2020 when nearly 75% of the forests are likely to be gone.
Indonesia is going up in flames.
In the 1950s, Borneo's rainforests were still largely intact. Today, more and more of them are being turned into agricultural land. Clearing the land by mechanical means is far too time consuming and expensive, so the forests are cleared using “slash and burn” techniques, which is just what it sounds like. First, a small number of low-paid laborers dig trenches to drain the peat bogs. Once dry, a single match can do the rest, and the land is ready for a new mono-crop.