Research Handbooks in Environmental Law series
Edited by Geert Van Calster, Wim Vandenberghe and Leonie Reins
Chapter 16: Land use, land use change and forestry: Asia-Pacific
The Asia-Pacific region covers one quarter of Earth’s surface but only 15 per cent of the total forest and woodland area (hereafter, forested area, see Figure 16.1). Considering only the geographically larger countries in the region (see Table 16.1), Australia, China and Indonesia combined have 69 per cent of the total forested area in 2011. Contrastingly, and again considering only the larger countries (Japan, Papua New Guinea and Laos), all have greater than 60 per cent of their land area under forest while Australia and China have less than 25 per cent of their total land under forest and Indonesia remains around 50 per cent forested. Comparing forested area globally, the Asia-Pacific, at around 28 per cent total forested area, is the least forested of all regions.3 Yet still, the Asia-Pacific remains the world leader in tropical and semi-tropical plantation forestry. Given that tropical plantations are highly productive and their products of high demand, the Asia-Pacific and its flagship foresters (Australia, China and Indonesia) are likely to continue to play an important role in supplying forest products in the future.