The next edition of the Guinness Book of World Records will list Indonesia as the country with the fastest rate of forest destruction on the planet.
The environmental group Greenpeace says Indonesia is destroying an area of forest equivalent to 300 football pitches every hour. It has already lost 72 percent of its large intact ancient forests and half of what remains is threatened.
Guinness World Records, considered a global authority on record-breaking achievements, has confirmed to Greenpeace that this unfortunate record will feature in its 2008 record book to be published in September this year.
It will read: “Of the 44 countries which collectively account for 90 percent of the world’s forests, the country which pursues the world’s highest annual rate of deforestation is Indonesia with 1.8 million ha (4,447,896 acres) per year between 2000-2005 – a rate of 2 per cent annually or 51 square km (20 square miles) every day.”
The record breaker was announced as the international community are considering reduced or avoided deforestation to mitigate climate change at the Third working group meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change taking place in Bangkok. Up to 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions come from tropical forest clearance.
Indonesia’s forests cover over 120 million hectares but the forestry sector is plagued by lawlessness, corruption and forest plunder, which the Indonesian Government is failing to control. International demand for timber and paper, as well as commodities such as palm oil, is driving this destruction.
Greenpeace is calling on the Indonesian Government to stem the tide of forest destruction and to reduce its contribution to climate change by imposing a moratorium on commercial logging operations in its rainforests. Greenpeace also says that countries must ban the import of forest products that come from illegal or destructive sources.