New advanced satellite maps of tropical countries reveal that more than 90 percent of recent tree cover loss took place in natural forests rather than plantations, threatening ecosystems and biodiversity, research shows.

The maps mark a breakthrough in forest monitoring that allows researchers to distinguish between natural growth and oil palm, rubber, timber and other plantations, according to Transparent World, a Russian non-profit organization, and the U.S.-based World Resources Institute.

The data found that in Brazil, Colombia, Liberia and Peru, more than 90 percent of tree cover lost in 2013 and 2014 was natural forest, they said.