State of the Malaysian Rainforest 2024

Report via RimbaWatch

Executive Summary

This supplement report supports the general findings of the original State of the Malaysian Rainforest 2023 Study. This report uses three baselines to predict a future reduction in forest cover; using the Vancutsem et al., 2021, Official Data, 2020 and Gaveau, 2022 forest cover statistics as baselines, compared to concession boundaries collated by RimbaWatch.

This report finds that between 3.2 and 2.1 million hectares of natural forest are under threat, which represents between 14-16% of our remaining forests. Forest cover will drop below 50% in all three baselines, ranging between 49% to 40%. In particular, the Gaveau dataset estimates that forest cover has already fallen below 50%, and stands at 46.97% as of 2022.

The supplement further reinforces that timber plantations and oil palm are the primary threats to natural forests. Timber plantations represent more than 76% of total threats to forests, and the majority of these concessions are located in intact forests. However, oil palm and timber plantation concessions overlap. Other threats include hydropower projects and degazettements of forest reserves.

The report reiterates the problem of encroachments of the traditional territories of Indigenous communities by concessions, where nearly 250,000 ha of concessions, mostly timber plantations, encroach on a sample of customary land boundary data. Finally, it finds that forests will drive significant carbon emissions, that data on forests continue to be non-transparent, and the majority of future deforestation will be unreported as such by Malaysian authorities due to loopholes in definitions.

Read the full report here.