as - since; because: Forests come under increasing pressure as the population increases, although the whole sentence ( Forests come under increasing pressure as the population increases, as so many people use firewood for cooking.) looks extremely awkward. Second “as” ought to be replaced by “and.” dictionary.reference.com/browse/as
The expression as…as is used to show the comparison of quantity. twice as many as = two times more than
Wouldn’t you say that “three times as many as” means “two times more than”? I.e. if the rest of the world produces 100,000 robots a year, and Japan twice as many, that should be 200,000. If Japan produces two times more robots than the rest of the world, it produces 300,000.
I may be wrong but I thought ‘as’ is a glue here which binds the clauses – ‘As the population increases’, ‘forests come under increasing pressure’ and ‘so many people use…’ more strongly than ‘because’ does. ‘Because’ seems to incorrectly shift the attention to ‘firewood for cooking’.