A global forest map shows that Malaysia is among countries that have the highest forest degradation rate between 2000 and 2012. FILE PIC

MALAYSIA’S rainforests have served to conserve flora and fauna with an abundant number of mammals and birds.

However, Malaysia is among the countries that have the highest forest degradation rate between 2000 and 2012, according to the new global forest map in collaboration with Google.

The forest area loss during the period is estimated to be 14.4 per cent of its year 2000 forest cover. The depletion translates into 47,278 sq km, an area that is said to be larger than Denmark.

Malaysia must protect its forests, because we cannot afford to lose anymore of them.

During my search, I came across many references indicating that Malaysia suffered an extensive natural capital base since the last five years.

In fact, the most affected part is the densest forest (core zone) with a 50 per cent tree cover, the richest carbon store and a variety of wildlife.

I believe the propagation of palm oil industries contributes to Peninsular Malaysia’s forest degradation.

A recent survey by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s Landsat cameras showed the global forest cover depletion. I would like to quote Mathew Hansen, the project’s lead developer: “With our global mapping of forest changes, every nation has access to this kind of information, for its own country and the rest of the world.”

It is the responsibility of every person to look after Mother Nature.

There should be a management policy to make people aware of the outcome of forest depletion and make sure it is stopped now.

Take home this message: only one species can sustain the existence of itself and others, and that is us, human beings.

DR TAPASH RUDRA

Department of Biotechnology, Faculty of Science, Lincoln University College, Petaling Jaya

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