China Devastating Asia/Pacific’s Rainforests
China has joined Europe and the United States as a global drain upon the world's ancient forests. China's appetite for foreign wood arises from its spectacular economic growth and from the decision in 1999 to protect its own environment at the expense of regional forests. China's unsustainable demand for timber is causing widespread deforestation and environmental destruction beyond their own borders – particularly in Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, Myanmar and increasingly Russia.
Over the past five years, the Asian region has lost more than 14.8 million acres [6 million hectares] of natural forests, while adding a paltry half a million hectares in plantations (which are crops, with all their attendant agricultural impacts, not forests). To their credit, even the FAO understands that limited plantation development is not a replacement for lost natural forest ecosystems.
China's rush to develop and resultant destruction of ancient forests differs from historical deforestation in the immense magnitude and scope of destruction. As China's massive population adopts the deadly Western lifestyle and ecocidal relationship to natural ecosystems, it is highly unlikely any large, intact forest ecosystems will persist anywhere. The global economic growth machine is eating the Earth's life support systems.