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Virtual Library File - Rate of deforestation in Indonesia overtakes Brazil, says study

The Challenge

Global demand for biomass-based products is expected to increase over the next decades. Important drivers of future demand are a growing world population, changing consumption patterns toward higher m ...

Global demand for biomass-based products is expected to increase over the next decades. Important drivers of future demand are a growing world population, changing consumption patterns toward higher meat consumption, and an increasing demand for biofuels and bio-based materials in industrial processes. Studies conclude that global agricultural supply needs to be increased by 70–110% to meet this increasing demand by 2050 (FAO 2011; Tilman et al. 2011). Meeting this challenge requires global and regional measures. Many options are available, e.g., reducing food waste and losses, agricultural land expansion, changing diets, and increasing biomass production by agricultural intensification.

This article discusses new numbers on deforestation in Indonesia. The new figures are significant because Indonesia is the world's third-largest producer of greenhouse gases behind China and the US, with 85% of its emissions coming from forest destruction and degradation. Indonesia lost 840,000 hectares of forest in 2012 compared to 460,000 hectares in Brazil, despite its forest being a quarter the size of the Amazon rainforest. Further, data indicates that extra losses came largely from the felling of primary forest in wetlands and in government-protected areas.