Amsterdam, Feb 01 (Agencies): Even is global warming is the concern of the world, new satellite imagery shows Malaysia is destroying forests more than three times faster than all of Asia combined, and its carbon-rich peat soils of the Sarawak coast are being stripped even faster, according to a study released on Tuesday.

The report commissioned by the Netherlands-based Wetlands International says Malaysia is damaging an average 2 per cent of the rain forest a year on Sarawak, its largest state on the island of Borneo, or about 10 per cent over the last five years. Most of it is being converted to palm oil plantations, it said.

The deforestation rate for all of Asia during the same period was 2.8 per cent, it added.

In the last five years, 353,000 hectares of Malaysia's peatlands were deforested, or one-third of the swamps which have stored carbon from decomposed plants for millions of years.

"Total deforestation in Sarawak is 3.5 times as much as that for entire Asia, while deforestation of peat swamp forest is 11.7 times as much," the report stated.

Malaysia and Indonesia produce about 85 per cent of the world's palm oil, an element in cooking oil, cosmetics, soaps, bread, and chocolate. It is also used as an industrial lubricant and was once considered an ideal biofuel alternative to fossil fuel, but it has fallen out of favor because of earlier reports of widespread rainforest destruction for the expansion of plantations.