Extensive clearing of Indonesian primary forests results in increased greenhouse gas emissions and biodiversity loss. However, there is no consensus on the areal extent and temporal trends of primary forest clearing in Indonesia. Here we report a spatially and temporally explicit quantification of Indonesian primary forest loss, which totalled over 6.02 Mha from 2000 to 2012 and increased on average by 47,600 ha per year. By 2012, annual primary forest loss in Indonesia was estimated to be higher than in Brazil (0.84 Mha and 0.46 Mha, respectively). Proportional loss of primary forests in wetland landforms increased and almost all clearing of primary forests occurred within degraded types, meaning logging preceded conversion processes. Loss within official forest land uses that restrict or prohibit clearing totalled 40% of all loss within national forest land. The increasing loss of Indonesian primary forests has significant implications for climate change mitigation and biodiversity conservation efforts.
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