Malaysia's land surface was once almost entirely covered with forest. Today, forests still cover about 59.5% of the total land area. However, deforestation is a major concern as the country is still rapidly developing. In the 20 years from 1983 to 2003, there was a reduction of about 4.9 million hectare of forest cover in Malaysia or an average of 250,000 hectare of forest being lost annually. Malaysia's deforestation rate is accelerating faster than that of any other tropical country in the world. Between 1990 and 2010, Malaysia lost an average of 96,000 ha or 0.43% per year or 8.6% of its forest cover, or around 1,920,000 ha. Apart from deforestation, the remaining forests face threats from unsustainable logging, illegal removal of forest products and encroachment.
Malaysia joined the UN-REDD Programme in June, 2012, and has so far been engaged in regional events such as the FPIC Lessons Learned Workshop held in Bogor, Indonesia. Through a UNDP project, UN-REDD is improving data management of greenhouse gas emissions, building capacity of stakeholders to engage effectively, developing a national institutional framework for REDD+, supported by a national policy and legal framework for ecosystem services; and designing a finance mechanism for REDD+ implementation.