This article was originally published in the 19 April edition of The Jakarta Globe.
Each month in Southeast Asia, an area three times the size of Jakarta is stripped of its trees.
Across the region, forests are being cleared for their timber or for agriculture, or to make way for infrastructure and settlements. Indeed, the region’s surging economic growth in recent years has come, in large part, at the expense of natural resources, particularly forests.
Will this paradigm continue?
Will Southeast Asia all but run out of forests?
As things stand, the answer to these questions could be a resounding “no.”
Experts are pointing to a way out of the “environment vs. economy” dilemma. A shift to a “green economy” could integrate environmental and economic objectives into policies that encourage new sources of development — development that can support livelihoods without harming the landscape.