01 Feb '11, 7am

Study shows rapid deforestation in Malaysia

AMSTERDAM - NEW satellite imagery shows Malaysia is destroying forests more than three times faster than all of Asia combined, and its carbon-rich peat soils of the Sarawak coast are being stripped even faster, according to a study released on Tuesday. The report commissioned by the Netherlands-based Wetlands International says Malaysia is uprooting an average 2 per cent of the rain forest a year on Sarawak, its largest state on the island of Borneo, or nearly 10 per cent over the last five years. Most of it is being converted to palm oil plantations, it said. The deforestation rate for all of Asia during the same period was 2.8 per cent, it said. In the last five years, 353,000 hectares of Malaysia's peatlands were deforested, or one-third of the swamps which have stored carbon from decomposed plants for millions of years. Malaysia and Indonesia produce about 85 per cent ...

Full article: http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/SEAsia/Story/STI...

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