In Indonesia's easternmost provinces of Papua and West Papua, most people welcome the government's commitment to economic development, often in the form of oil palm expansion. But the impact of development can include irreparable deforestation and health crises. It's a delicate balancing act.
To help clarify heated debate over what drives deforestation in Indonesia, new analysis of Global Forest Watch data shows that most forest loss -- 55 percent -- occurs in legal concession areas, where some tree removal is allowed, but 45 percent happens outside these areas.
Six years after Indonesia passed a forest moratorium aimed at slowing unsustainable agricultural expansion into primary forests and peatlands, tree cover loss remains high, according to the latest satellite data from the University of Maryland and Google, available now on Global Forest Watch.
Before the Flood explores how human activities, such as deforestation in Indonesia's Leuser ecosystem, are fueling global climate change. WRI Forest Legality Initiative Chip Barber reflects on his experience in the Leuser 30 years ago, and how the landscape has changed.
New data on Global Forest Watch shows that in some of the world's most heavily forested nations, more than 90 percent of tree cover loss is happening in natural forests rather than plantations. That's a problem since natural forests, especially those in the tropics, provide much greater climate, biodiversity and water benefits over planted lands.
Satellite data reveals that concessions cover more than half the Malaysian state of Sarawak, often overlapping with sensitive intact forests that are being degraded at one of the highest rates in the world.
In Kalimantan, Indonesia’s largest palm oil-producing region, it’s possible to fully protect the most valuable forests and reduce emissions by 35 percent while only modestly reducing profits.
The protected area has seen 185 fire alerts since May 29, 2015, some of which are likely associated with land clearing for agriculture.
A new initiative from WRI and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) aims to shed light on how oil palm concessions affect forests.
Global Forest Watch Commodities (GFW-Commodities) combines the RSPO’s maps of certified sustainable palm oil production sites with global forest data—information that can empower companies to manage their forests and supply chains more sustainably.
Clearing land for timber and agriculture is likely to blame for Indonesia's latest bout of fires. According to data from Global Forest Watch—a new online system that tracks tree cover change, fires, and other information in near-real time—roughly half of these fires are burning on land managed by oil palm, timber, and logging companies—despite the fact that using fire to clear land is illegal in Indonesia.