Just two countries, Indonesia and Brazil are estimated to account for approximately 55% of the world’s deforestation. Deforestation across SE Asia as a region is widespread.
Indonesia’s economy is growing rapidly and this growth is coming at a severe environmental cost. Indonesia is today the world’s third-largest emitter of greenhouse gases, after the U.S. and China, largely because of the country’s historically high rate of deforestation. As much as 85% of the nation’s carbon footprint is estimated to come from deforestation and uncontrolled land conversion.
Less than half of Indonesia’s original forest cover still exists, and much of the rest has been badly degraded. The causes are numerous, but primarily commercial pressures and regulatory mismanagement.
We are currently seeking local partners with whom we may collaborate and develop seedling nurseries in the same proven format we have been operating in North Thailand.
To learn more about deforestation in SE Asia and Indonesia, go to our Research page under Education and Resources.
Deforestation in some parts of SE Asia is stabilising however and some governments, especially in Thailand and Laos have been pro-active in supporting schemes for reforestation.
Our activities for reforestation in SE Asia are initially focusing on north Thailand. To succeed, all such projects need the support of local and government authorities and this is the reason our initial focus is here. Parts of these regions also suffer from extreme poverty. Tree planting and conservation projects create valuable employment for locals as well as providing educational support on the importance of tree conservation.
Firmly in the heart of tropical SE Asia, tree planting in this region has far greater benefits than planting in high latitudes such as Europe.
Some have argued in the past that we should focus our efforts on reforesting those areas of The United States or Europe where economies are wealthy and where deforestation occurred many decades ago.
Unfortunately, research show that Trees only really work to cool the planet if planted in the tropics.
In the so-called mid-latitude region where the United States and majority of European countries are located, the climate benefits of tree planting to reduce global warming is very low.
Tropical forests are very beneficial to the climate because they soak up carbon and increase cloudiness, which in turn helps cool the planet.
Land and labour costs are also far lower and the benefits to what are predominantly poor communities far greater.
In our view, schemes designed to offset carbon emissions are only effective if planted in tropical climates.
In addition to offsetting carbon emissions however, our projects are also about maintaining bio diversity, helping wildlife and communities.
It is difficult for tree planting alone to replicate the biodiversity and complexity of a natural forest but we go to some lengths to achieve a balanced and diverse environment.
To promote the growth of native ecosystems, WTT advocate only indigenous trees be planted. Where essential to begin rebuilding desolate areas of land, we may on occasion plant tough, fast-growing native tree species. We seek to plant non-invasive trees that assist in the natural return of indigenous species to assist natural regeneration. Please support us.
Clarissa Pinkola Estés