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New forest loss figures highlight need for green growth in the Greater Mekong

The Greater Mekong subregion in Southeast Asia risks losing more than a third of its remaining forest cover within the next two decades if regional governments fail to boost protection, value and restore natural capital, and embrace green growth, warns a new WWF report. 

WWF’s analysis reveals the Greater Mekong has retained about 98 million hectares of natural forest, just over half of the region’s land area, but further rapid loss is expected if current deforestation rates persist.

Between 1973 and 2009, the five countries of the Greater Mekong lost just under one-third of their remaining forest cover. During this period, Cambodia lost 22 per cent of its 1973 forest cover, Laos and Myanmar lost 24 per cent, and Thailand and Vietnam lost 43 per cent.

Large connected areas of core forest also declined significantly across the region, from over 70 per cent in 1973 to about 20 per cent in 2009. 

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