Strengthening forest governance is vital for growth of Southeast Asia’s forests

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Asia PacificJeffrey Williamson is communications associate with the Center for People and Forests (RECOFTC). Any views expressed are his own and not those of the Center for International Forestry Research.

The Greater Mekong Region (GMS) in the transnational region of the Mekong River Basin in Southeast Asia experienced a 5.1 percent decline in total forest cover from 1990 to 2015, according to a recent study conducted by the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO). Based on current data, this trend is predicted to get worse.

From 2010 to 2015, the total loss of forest was 325,600 hectares a year with positive growth rates in certain countries. These figures, however, partly hide the fact that many countries are reforesting large areas through plantations, while their natural forests are being lost at an incredible rate.

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