An article by Nadya Natahadibrata, The Jakarta Post.

The first high-resolution global forest cover on Google Earth should be used as a tool to revive discussion over the country’s actual forest coverage and borders, environmentalists say.

“The government has never disclosed the methodology they use to calculate the annual number of total forest loss in the country, which according to them is only around 450,000 hectares,” Avi Mahaningtyas, adviser to the Climate and Land Use Alliance, said on Monday.

“This map opens the opportunity to clarify how many hectares of forest we have actually lost.”

As previously reported, a team of researchers from 15 universities — led by the University of Maryland and assisted by Google and NASA — published a study in Science Magazine, saying that of all countries, Indonesia, according to the Google forest map, had the largest increase of deforestation between 2000 and 2012.

The country’s deforestation doubled from around 10,000 square kilometers (1 million hectares) per year between 2000 and 2003 to around 20,000 square kilometers of deforestation per year between 2011 and 2012. Indonesia, according to the study, lost 15.8 million hectares in total between 2000 and 2012, ranking fifth behind Russia, Brazil, the United States and Canada in terms of forest loss.

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