Southeast Asia is home to nearly 15 percent of the world’s tropical forests. It is also one of the world’s deforestation hotspots. On July 20 of this year, the environmental website Mongabay.com reported that deforestation in Southeast Asia has been more extensive than originally thought.
According to the Nanyang Technological University in Singapore, as early as 2013 Southeast Asia had the highest deforestation rate of any major tropical region, losing 1.2 percent of forests each year, followed closely by Latin America and Africa. In May of 2019, Southeast Asia was reported to be the home to 15 percent of the world’s tropical forests. But it was also ranked as one of the world’s major hotspots in terms of severe biodiversity loss due mostly to the conversion of intact forests into plantations used to produce palm oil.
Sadly, based on independent reports, it’s clear that many officials in Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, and the Philippines have profited from their positions and that deforestation is likely to be the least of their concerns.