What is deforestation?
Deforestation is the process in which natural forests are converted to an alternative permanent non-forested land use for agriculture, grazing or urban development purposes. (Chakravarty et al., 2012)
Southeast Asia consists of 11 countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Philippines, Singapore, and East Timor) (Dong et al., 2014). Southeast Asia is known for its vast rainforests which constitute about almost 20 percent of forest cover with the richest biodiversity in the world (Victor, 2017). Southeast Asia has the highest rate of deforestation of any major tropical region losing 1.2 per cent of forest annually, followed by Latin America (0.8 per cent) and Africa (0.7 per cent) (Brown, 2013). It is projected that the region has already lost more than 50 percent of its original forest cover and that some of the primary rainforests in the region will be lost by the year 2022 along with the loss of wildlife habitats. Deforestation is a pressing problem in the region with Indonesia contributing to the largest proportion of forests being cleared, followed by other hotspots such as Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand (Victor, 2017).