Asian nations pledged to plant forests covering an area the size of Illinois Wednesday as part of an energy and climate agreement.
The re-forestation agreement is among the more significant terms agreed to, because the loss of forest in this part of the world is a leading -- though often unacknowledged -- driver of global warming.
Among nations that produce greenhouse gases, Indonesia ranks third behind China and the United States, not because of industrial emissions or burning fossil fuels, but because of deforestation.
Since 2000, the rate of deforestation in Indonesia has increased 19% compared even to substantial rates in the 1990s. Now, Indonesia is losing nearly 2% of its forest each year.
If the international agreement is successful, that loss can be reversed, and the region's forests can become a net sink for atmospheric carbon, instead of a source.
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