Illegal logging is not just for the outlaws in Indonesia. In fact, in 2003, an estimated 73 to 88 percent of all timber logged in Indonesia was illegal, affecting 37 of the 41 national parks.
Indonesia had the fastest pace of deforestation in the world between 2000-2005, with an area of forest equivalent to 300 football fields destroyed every hour, according to Greenpeace.
“The next generation of Indonesians will not see any forest if no action is taken by the government to deal with the problem,” Greenpeace Indonesia forest campaigner Bustar Maitar told a news conference.
The Guinness World Records had approved a proposal by Greenpeace that Indonesia’s forest destruction be included in its 2008 record book to be published in September this year, said Greenpeace Southeast Asia campaigner Hapsoro.
Overall, Indonesia has lost over 72 percent of its natural forests — 40 percent of which have been totally degraded because of destructive and/or illegal logging.
Indonesia’s forests are a massive natural store of carbon, but environmentalists say rampant cutting and burning of trees to feed the pulp, timber and palm oil sectors has made the country the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gas emissions
Indonesia’s forests, a treasure trove of plant and animal species including the threatened orangutan, emit a staggering 2.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide a year, according to a report sponsored by the World Bank and British development agency.
Environmental groups say that protecting tropical forests is the most direct and fastest way to mitigate some of the impact of climate change.
Besides the fact that Indonesia possesses 10 percent of the worlds tropical rain-forests it is also home to many endangered species. The Sumatran Orangutan is virtually homeless.
The Bornean orangutan and Sumatran orangutan are classified by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) as Endangered and Critically Endangered respectively, with the population of Sumatran orangutans down by 91 percent since 1900. Current estimates suggest that 45,000 to 69,000 Bornean orangutans and 7,300 Sumatran orangutans remain in the wild. The degradation, fragmentation and outright loss of tropical forests impact orangutans by reducing the availability of food trees and shelter. According to the UNEP assessment, displaced orangutans that are forced within close proximity of human populations are often captured for illegal trade, hunted for meat, or killed to protect crops.
A recent assessment by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP)projects that orangutans will be virtually eliminated in the wild within the next two decades if current trends continue.