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Is It True That Oil Palm Plantations Are The Main Driver of Deforestation of Indonesia’s Tropical Forest?

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... Deforestation is defined as a one-time permanent conversion of natural forest cover into other land cover categories [53,54]. The forest conversion in Indonesia is caused by direct or indirect factors i.e., transmigration programs, forest concession rights in 1970-1980, and expansion of oil palm plantations [15,16,55]. For many decades, the Diversity 2022, 14, 420 5 of 21 nationwide trend of deforestation has been declining every year ( Figure 3). ...
... Deforestation is defined as a one-time permanent conversion of natural forest cover into other land cover categories [53,54]. The forest conversion in Indonesia is caused by direct or indirect factors i.e., transmigration programs, forest concession rights in 1970-1980, and expansion of oil palm plantations [15,16,55]. For many decades, the nationwide trend of deforestation has been declining every year ( Figure 3). ...
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The high rate of deforestation and fragmentation of elephant habitat on Sumatra Island has triggered human-elephant conflict (HEC) in Sumatra Island, Indonesia. This conflict brings negative impacts on humans and elephants. Despite numerous efforts having been made to solve this problem, the HEC continues to occur in the remaining elephant enclave every year. The harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants could be improved through HEC mitigation programs. The aim of this paper was to review information on HEC in Sumatra Island, investigate the causes and implications of HEC, review existing HEC mitigation methods, and formulate strategies to improve the harmonious coexistence between humans and elephants. The best strategies to create successful human and elephant coexistence are strengthening the institutions and policies, restoring the habitat, developing wildlife corridors, establishing Essential Ecosystem Areas (EEA), community empowerment through ecotourism, providing legal access to forests through Social Forestry (SF), and providing compensation schemes for conflict victims.
... While oil palm has been cultivated in Indonesia for well over a century now [37], its cultivation on peatland emerged during the '80s [38][39][40]. In general, oil palm cultivation relies on draining the peatland, removing the vegetation, and planting young oil palms. ...
... The divergence between the centuries of Europe's peatland extraction starkly contrasts (continually) with the frenzy over decades of Indonesia's peatland cultivation. The 20 to 30 years of anti-palm-oil campaigning have created significant consumer concern, mainly by pursuing the false causation of oil palm destroying tropical forests and butchering iconic species like the orangutan [39]. Nevertheless, more subtle campaigning, like the false narrative, that the industry hides oil palm behind 200 to 400 "different names" (read different derivatives/ingredients), should not be discounted [59]. ...
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Peatland is an essential natural resource. Indonesia is the target of increased criticism for its commercial management of peatland, especially over the last two decades. These criticisms pivot around the draining of peatland to use for (dryland) agriculture, horticulture, and forestry and include the effects of draining and burning peatland. Criticisms about Indonesia’s peatland management focuses on oil palm expansion. While we indirectly address Indonesia’s commercial peat management criticisms, our primary focus in this paper is to explore management regimes applied to commercial European peatland management. We seek to compare European management practices asking the question: What can Indonesia learn from seven centuries of European peatland management practices? A comparative understanding will inform an initial guide for defining best management practices. Our findings show that Indonesia, not Europe as we supposed, is uniquely positioned to globally establish sustainable wetland agriculture.
... Plantation of oil palm for oil has started since 1800s (Corley and Tinker, 2015;EPOA, 2019;Soh, et al., 2018). Due to the ever increasing requirement for edible oil and biofuels, currently there are over 30 countries producing palm oil, among which, Indo-nesia and Malaysia are the major palm oil producers, contributing 85% of the world palm oil production (Santosa, et al., 2020;ST, 2019). Oil palm plantation has increased livelihoods for many smallholders in developing countries (Begum, et al., 2018;Rist, et al., 2010). ...
... In the past 10 years, both governments and big companies involved in oil palm plantation have tried very hard to minimize the use of forests for oil palm plantation (Higgins and Richards, 2019). Although oil palm plantation is still one of the key causes for deforestation in some countries, its impact on deforestation has been reduced significantly as Indonesia's and Malaysia's governments have taken measures in reducing the use of forests for palm plantation (Naylor, et al., 2019;Santosa, et al., 2020;ST, 2018;2019). African and south American countries, which are developing oil palm plantations, are also taking measures to minimize the use of forests for palm plantation and to protect the environment (Meijaard, et al., 2018). ...
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The oil palm is the most productive oil-producing crop. To yield the same volume of oil that is from one hectare of palm, eight hectares of soybean are needed. Palm oil is used an ingredient in over 50% of packaged supermarket products and also as biofuels. The palm oil sector provides over 4.5 million jobs for on-farm laborers in developing countries. However, palm oil is often blamed for deforestation and loss of biodiversity. We argue that palm oil sustainability is not only about the environment and biodiversity but also about people and their prosperity. Palm oil sustainability can be achieved with joint efforts from palm oil players including the smallholders, plantation companies, governments, certification agencies, consumers and researchers .
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Oil palm plantations in Indonesia have been linked to substantial deforestation in the 1990s and 2000s, though recent studies suggest that new plantations are increasingly developed on non-forest land. Without nationwide data to establish recent baseline trends, the impact of commitments to eliminate deforestation from palm oil supply chains could therefore be overestimated. We examine the area and proportion of plantations replacing forests across Sumatra, Kalimantan, and Papua up to 2015, and map biophysically suitable areas for future deforestation-free expansion. We created new maps of oil palm plantations for the years 1995, 2000, 2005, 2010 and 2015, and examined land cover replaced in each period. Nationwide, oil palm plantation expansion occurred at an average rate of 450,000 ha yr⁻¹, and resulted in an average of 117,000 ha yr⁻¹ of deforestation, during 1995–2015. Our analysis of the most recent five-year period (2010–2015) shows that the rate of deforestation due to new plantations has remained relatively stable since 2005, despite large increases in the extent of plantations. As a result, the proportion of plantations replacing forests decreased from 54% during 1995–2000, to 18% during 2010–2015. In addition, we estimate there are 30.2 million hectares of non-forest land nationwide which meet biophysical suitability criteria for oil palm cultivation. Our findings suggest that recent zero-deforestation commitments may not have a large impact on deforestation in Sumatra, where plantations have increasingly expanded onto non-forest land over the past twenty years, and which hosts large potentially suitable areas for future deforestation-free expansion. On the other hand, these pledges could have more influence in Kalimantan, where oil palm driven deforestation increased over our study period, and in Papua, a new frontier of expansion with substantial remaining forest cover.
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