Tropical deforestation from developing countries, including Indonesia, contributes to emissions of greenhouse gases, principally carbon dioxide, the primary driver of global warming. Primary forest clearing also results in the loss of biodiversity due to the destruction of unique tropical forest habitats. Present understanding of forest change within Indonesia lacks consensus.

A globally consistent methodology using satellite imagery was implemented to quantify gross forest cover loss (GFCL) from 2000 to 2005 and to compare GFCL among biomes, continents, and countries. GFCL is defined as the area of forest cover removed because of any disturbance, including both natural and human-induced causes.