View of the rainforest canopy from below through a fisheye lens. Photo by Rhett Butler, unless specified otherwise.
The once-majestic rainforests of Indonesia Borneo have been hard hit by logging, industrial oil palm plantations, and fires set for land-clearing. A new study, released yesterday by Forest Watch Indonesia, found that Indonesian Borneo accounted for 36 percent of deforestation in Indonesia from 2000-2009. In all, more than 5.5 million hectares of forest were completely cleared.
Ongoing loss of forests in Borneo poses an immediate threat to the roughly 50,000 orangutans that live on the island. However in the longer term, forest loss risks transforming Borneo from a humid tropical island into a fire-prone landscape dominated by scrub and invasive grasslands. The shift could have substantial impacts in neighboring areas, affecting rainfall and air quality.