Released yesterday, the study comes a few days before the United Nations annual Convention on Climate Change, scheduled to start on Monday (28 November-09 December 2011) in Durban, South Africa.
Maplecroft used the latest data from the United Nation's Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) to calculate changes to the overall forest cover, and in primary and planted forests, between 2005 and 2010. Those at the top are ranked extreme risk, countries like Cambodia (9th) and Australia (10th).
In Indonesia, about 1 million hectares of forest are lost a year. That is about 13 times the size of Singapore, with palm oil expansion accounting for 16 per cent of deforestation.
Jakarta in May began a two-year moratorium on new licences to clear primary forests and peatlands with regular satellite surveillance to monitor the ban.
Nigeria lost just over 2 million hectares of forest a year between 2005 and 2010, driven by agricultural expansion, logging and infrastructure development.
"Deforestation can also hamper efforts for a country to reduce their carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions as forests play a key role in mitigating global climate change through carbon sequestration," Maplecroft analyst Arianna Granziera said.
What is more, deforestation is disrupting the climate cycle and is responsible for at least 10 per cent of mankind's annual greenhouse gas pollution.
Extreme-risk countries are losing plant and animal species that help provide clean air from forests, watersheds for rivers and mangroves that protect coastlines, assets that help underpin economies.
Although China is a leading greenhouse gas emitter, it has also adopted policies to halt deforestation through replanting and reforestation and aggressive laws protecting land from expanding agricultural and industrial use.
At the same time, Beijing is driving deforestation elsewhere. “China's demand for wood is fuelling increasing imports, much of which comes from the US and Canada, but illegal imports from Brazil, Cambodia and other developing countries have been reportedly increasing," Granziera noted.