June 7, 2018


Deforestation, no denying its impact on accelerating the warming of the planet.

What Deforestation Entails?

By most accounts12, deforestation in tropical rainforests adds more carbon dioxide to the atmosphere than the sum total of cars and trucks on the world’s roads. According to the World Carfree Network (WCN), cars and trucks account for about 14 percent of global carbon emissions, while most analysts attribute upwards of 15 percent to deforestation.

What is Causing Deforestation

  • Agriculture
  • Cattle Farm
  • Logging
  • Housing

Deforestation in Indonesia

The main cause of deforestation in Indonesia are the (both) legal and illegal logging for and palm oil cultivation, both accounted for the loss of nearly half (48%) of all the forested area in Indonesia, at the staggering rate of more than 840,000 hectares of area deforested each year (2012), or more than Brazil3. Leading to the loss of wildlife varieties, most of them unique to the country. For example, a century ago, there are around 230,000 orangutans living in Borneo and Sumatra altogether. Now, there are only 70,000-100,000 of them living in Borneo, while only 7,500 in Sumatra. That’s not the worst of it, the Sumatran tigers for instance has only 300-400 of them living in the wild, or Sumatran and Bornean rhinos all but almost wiped out everywhere but some small pockets in Northern Borneo and some part of Sumatra (estimated 75-85 left). It’s a very grim news for everyone.

We cannot stress enough the devastatingly important role of palm oil industries in the loss of forested areas in Indonesia. The industry, which is essential for many consumer products, from soap (say Johnson & Johnson) to Doritos to almost anything else under “consumer products” category on the market shelves, has already driven most of the forested land in Borneo from nearly covering all the island, to not even half of it. See this picture for instance:


With most of the jungle / forested area in the South, East, and the West of Kalimantan (Borneo) no longer exists. We can also see that most of the forest area exists in the northern part of the island, where Malaysia has almost half of it. The Indonesian government obviously haven’t done enough in that aspect. Not enough.

It doesn’t help that the current government, under Joko Widodo plans to build all manner of infrastructures, under which some if not most of the area impacted are both primary and secondary forest. While nonetheless a very good deal for both the government and the meteoric rise of economy benefits the people of the country, there has been little to minimal amount of both coverage and numbers to back up his (Joko Widodo) announcement in 2015 to cut the greenhouse gas emissions by 29% in 2030. We should do little better at that department too, eh Mr. President?

By: Vincent Didiek Wiet Aryanto

Cover Image taken from WWF.