|Click map to enlarge.
Looking at the new maps of Sumatra's forests
, the Once-ler in Dr Seuss' The Lorax
would not conclude that we "cared a whole awful lot," but rather that we were cutting them down as fast as we please.
It's nearly 35 years since I first flew over Sumatra
, an island in western Indonesia. Looking out of the plane window, the dark green forests stretched to the horizon. Even if there weren't any Truffula trees, there were many herds of elephants, families of tigers, groups of monkeys and many thousands of lone orangutans calling and moving around the forest, hardly ever crossing paths with humans. Then came the organized loggers, the transmigration settlements, and the plantations – rubber, oil palm and industrial timber.
About half Sumatra's forests have been lost since 1985. Last year, a WWF report
(pdf) found that forest cover in Riau province
, central Sumatra, has fallen from 78% to 25% in 25 years.