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The only upside about writing about the destruction of Indonesian and Malaysian rainforests for palm oil plantations is that I get wonderful comments calling me an idiot from the Palm Oil Truth Foundation, a cheesy website run by nameless flacks "without strings to the world of commerce and power" that readers are invited to visit for "the truth" every time we post. I will get it out of the way up front here.
Indonesia has made it into the Guiness Book of Records for achieving the world's fastest rate of deforestation, with an area the size of 300 soccer fields every hour. According to Greenpeace, the citation will read
"Of the 44 countries which collectively account for 90 percent of the world's forests, the country which pursues the highest annual rate of deforestation is Indonesia with 1.8 million hectares (4.4 million acres) of forest destroyed each year between 2000-2005."
from Reuters: Indonesia has lost 72 percent of its intact ancient forests and half of what remains is threatened by commercial logging, forest fires and clearances for palm oil plantations, Greenpeace said.
Indonesia is the second second-largest palm oil producer after Malaysia and is poised to be the world's biggest producer of the commodity with more than 16 million metric tons this year.
Greenpeace said while Indonesia was destroying its forests at a faster pace than any other country, Brazil destroyed a larger area of forest every year.
The group said Indonesia's rate of forest destruction also made the country the third-largest greenhouse polluter after the United States and China.
Experts say up to 25 percent of greenhouse gas emissions comes from tropical forest clearance.