ENVIRONMENTDeforestation in Indonesia is More Than Palm Oil Plantation

Maureen SantosFebruary 4, 20192555 min

It was discovered that deforestation in Indonesia is not only because of palm plantation and agriculture but also of modernization. 

Indonesia has endured one of the loftiest rates of principal natural forest loss in the tropical zone in recent years. The depletion of the forests turned to be a stimulator of worldwide environmental to deal with.

According to Kemen G. Austin, over half of the country’s disappearance of major natural forests is due to massive plantations. This development maxed out for two consecutive years starting 2008 to 2010. It was when a moderate of 600,000 hectares of forest diminish yearly. The mushrooming of these extensive farms are responsible for the 57% of the forest loss. Austin is a 2018 doctoral graduate of Duke’s Nicholas School of the Environment who led the research.

The transformation from forests to savannahs increased distinctly in 2015 and 2015. This is when the El Niño phenomenon produced harsh dry spells and higher-than-normal fire happenings on several of the nation’s islands.

Small-scale farming has also been found to contribute to the forest loss for almost one-quarter of the total deforestation in Indonesia  This demonstrates the necessity of organizing forest management interventions that create the ideals and needs of small-holder farmers as well into consideration. Aside from farming, mining and logging roads also played a major role in deforestation in Indonesia at particular periods during the research.

“The takeaway message for policymakers and conservationists is that the causes of forest loss in Indonesia are much more varied than we previously thought. They change from place to place and over time. Even though oil palm is the first thing that pops into most people’s head when they think about deforestation in Indonesia, it’s not the only cause, and we need to adjust our policies and practices to account for that,” Austin said.

The research was published in Environmental Research Letters. The study is foremost to chart the varying causes of forest loss taking place in Indonesia on a national level.

Palm oil exists in a large spectrum of consumer goods ranging from processed foods to sanitation products and makeup. However, the concern of consumers regarding its environmental effect is increasing.

Papua and West Papua used to be condensed forests before but with the introduction of palm oil in the market, deforestation in Indonesia started. The EIA studied the two regions and found out that almost 31 million hectares of land which are mostly forested became palm oil plantations. In Papua alone, a total of 56,000 hectares of forest has been prepared for palm oil plantations since 2015. These zones serve as carbon sinks for the bordering area.

Thanks, to the corporate sourcing policies that curbed the deforestation in the two regions. Incorporating satellite imagery with trader surveys, it showed that forest loss was halved since 2015 compared to the business-as-usual estimates.

However, the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) said that several leading palm oil companies that fostered zero deforestation policies have only little effect in controlling forest loss. The agency added that stopping deforestation in Indonesia, in general, should oblige action together with voluntary corporate endeavors.

Maureen Santos

She lets everyone become aware of what is happening to our beloved planet Earth and its inhabitants. She can take you beyond the space and find out how neighbor planets are doing. Moreover, she would open your eyes to the things what makes the Earth suffer including the living species and allow you to decide what you can do to help save the planet and the future generation.

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