| ||In 1950, Indonesia’s primary forests covered 160 million hectares. Today, they only cover 48 million hectares. Forest exploitation started expanding in the 1970s. Eucalyptus plantations, then palm oil plantations replaced the natural forest. Since 1992, a law has authorized clear cutting within a 100 km radius around a pulp factory to create fast-growing tree plantations, including eucalyptus, an essence especially used by the paper industry. This has accelerated the original forest’s disappearance. Indonesia owns about 80% of Southeast Asia’s last primary tropical rainforests. Every year, about 1.5 million hectares of forest disappear. A large part disappears illegally. According to the United Nations Environment Program, 37 of the 41 Indonesian national parks were victims of wood smuggling. Indonesian forests, Borneo Island in particular, are home to rare species of plants, birds and mammals including orang-utans. These big ginger monkeys only live on the islands of Sumatra and Borneo. There were about 180.000 at the end of the 1980s. Today, there are only between 30.000 and 50.000 of them left. Orang-utans are on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. If deforestation continues at the current rate, 98% of Borneo’s original tropical forests will disappear by 2022.
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