LONDON , June 30 (UPI) -- A report indicates Indonesia is proceeding with removing its tropical forests at a faster rate than Brazil, the world's leader in deforestation.
A study, published in the British scientific journal Nature Climate Change, says Indonesia lost 8,400 square kilometers (3,243 square miles) of primary forest in 2012, compared to Brazil's loss of 4,600 square kilometers (1,776 square miles). Over a 12-year period, Indonesia removed 60,000 square kilometers (23,166 square miles) of virgin forest, an area the size of Ireland.
The authors of the study, from the University of Maryland, noted deforestation is a cause of an increase in greenhouse gas emissions and a loss of biodiversity, adding Indonesia contains 10 percent of the world's plants and 12 percent of its mammals.
Indonesia's implementation of a 2011 deforestation moratorium has been compromised by corrupt politicians who sell areas of forest for profit, environmental activists claim. In addition, forest fires, set to clear the land quickly, caused heavy smog over Indonesia and nearby Malaysia and Singapore in 2013.