Indonesia now biggest 'forest killer'

It's a dubious honor: Indonesia is now officially the world's biggest destroyer of forests.  What's more, the pace of forest loss appears to be accelerating.

High price for biodiversity...

High price for biodiversity...

Any way you look at it, Indonesia is a mega-diversity nation for plants and animals.  And virtually nowhere else on Earth has more endangered species, including the tiger, orangutan, clouded leopard, and Sumatran and Javan rhinoceros.

Satellite data reveal that, from 2000 to 2012, Indonesia destroyed its native old-growth forests at a stunning pace, losing over 6 million hectares (15 million acres).  That's an area almost the size of Ireland.

Meanwhile, deforestation in Brazil -- formerly the no. 1 forest feller -- has declined substantially in recent years

Equally alarming is that deforestation appears to be worsening in Indonesia, despite major international initiatives to slow forest loss there.  In 2012, the country cleared 840,000 hectares of its old-growth forests, more than any year in the preceding decade. 

Accelerating deforestation in Indonesia  (from Mongabay)

Accelerating deforestation in Indonesia (from Mongabay)

Brazil, whose forests are much more extensive, lost just 460,000 hectares in 2012.

It's a label no nation should want: Indonesia is now the undisputed global 'leader' in destroying its native forests