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Deforestation and Degradation


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Reducing Agricultural Expansion into Forests in Central Kalimantan - Indonesia: Analysis of Implementation and Financing Gaps (2012)
23 May 2012
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The report demonstrates that from existing plantation which currently stands at 1 million hectares, Central Kalimantan province could double oil palm production by 2020 from the current level as most of their existing plantations are still at very young age. However, the province has set up a target to increase the plantation area up to 3.5 million ha. With this target, it was estimated that the palm oil production by 2020 will be over three times of the current production. With this plan, about 1 million ha of forested land will be deforested. The study argues that Central Kalimantan could revise its current target of 3.5 million hectares’ oil palm to 2.9 million ha to avoid the deforestation without significantly reduce the production level. In order to save the 1 million hectare of the “forested land”, two principal mechanisms: that should be done (i) the undertaking of a ‘land swap’ between ‘forested’ and ‘non-forested’ areas, coupled with a broader spatial planning exercise, and (ii) improvement of smallholder yields. How to Identify Degraded Land for Sustainable Palm Oil in Indonesia (2012)
11 April 2012
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Palm oil production in Indonesia has the potential to generate local benefits if oil palm cultivation expansion follows sustainable planning and management practices, including respect for local interests and rights. Potential benefits include increased incomes, profits, and government revenues, reduced poverty, and improved natural resource management. Whether this potential is achieved will depend on how new areas for oil palm cultivation are identified. This working paper demonstrates how to implement a quick and cost-effective method for identifying potentially suitable areas for oil palm cultivation. The method is designed in accordance with established standards for sustainable palm oil production, such as those of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO); incorporates relevant Indonesian laws and policies; and is consistent with proposed national REDD+ strategies to support palm oil production on low carbon degraded land. The method consists of a desktop analysis using readily available data and rapid field assessments. It is based on a set of indicators related to selected environmental, economic, social, and legal considerations. This method can be used by companies as a first step in a site selection process for a certified sustainable plantation and can inform government officials and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) in assessing land use policy options to support the expansion of sustainable palm oil production on degraded land. However, since it is designed primarily to rapidly identify the highest priority areas for further investigation, it should not be used to predetermine where oil palm cultivation expansion should occur. Committed Carbon Emission, Deforestation, and Community Land Conversion from Oil Palm Plantation Expansion in West Kalimantan, Indonesia (2012)
20 March 2012
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Industrial agricultural plantations are a rapidly increasing yet largely unmeasured source of tropical land cover change. Here, the authors evaluate impacts of oil palm plantation development on land cover, carbon flux, and agrarian community lands in West Kalimantan, Indonesian Borneo. With a spatially explicit land change/carbon bookkeeping model, parameterized using high-resolution satellite time series and informed by socioeconomic surveys, we assess previous and project future plantation expansion under five scenarios. Although fire was the primary proximate cause of 1989–2008 deforestation (93%) and net carbon emissions (69%), by 2007–2008, oil palm directly caused 27% of total and 40% of peatland deforestation. Plantation land sources exhibited distinctive temporal dynamics, comprising 81% forests on mineral soils (1994–2001), shifting to 69% peatlands (2008–2011). Plantation leases reveal vast development potential. In 2008, leases spanned ∼65% of the region, including 62% on peatlands and 59% of community-managed lands, yet <10% of lease area was planted. Projecting business as usual (BAU), by 2020 ∼40% of regional and 35% of community lands are cleared for oil palm, generating 26% of net carbon emissions. Intact forest cover declines to 4%, and the proportion of emissions sourced from peatlands increases 38%. Prohibiting intact and logged forest and peatland conversion to oil palm reduces emissions only 4% below BAU, because of continued uncontrolled fire. Protecting logged forests achieves greater carbon emissions reductions (21%) than protecting intact forests alone (9%) and is critical for mitigating carbon emissions. Extensive allocated leases constrain land management options, requiring trade-offs among oil palm production, carbon emissions mitigation, and maintaining community landholdings. Economic Dynamics and Forest Clearing - A Spatial Econometric Analysis for Indonesia (2011)
15 December 2011
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This paper uses a large panel database to investigate the determinants of forest clearing in Indonesian kabupatens since 2005. Our study incorporates short-run changes in prices and demand for palm oil and wood products, as well as the exchange rate, the real interest rate, land-use zoning, forest protection, the estimated opportunity cost of forested land, the quality of local governance, the poverty rate, population density, the availability of communications infrastructure, transport cost, and local rainfall and terrain slope. Our econometric results highlight the role of dynamic economic factors in forest clearing. We find significant roles for lagged changes in all the short-run economic variables—product prices, demands, the exchange rate and the real interest rate—as well as communications infrastructure, some types of commercial zoning, rainfall, and terrain slope. We find no significance for the other variables, and the absence of impact for protected-area status is particularly notable. Our results strongly support the model of forest clearing as an investment that is highly sensitive to expectations about future forest product prices and demands, as well as changes in the cost of capital (indexed by the real interest rate), the relative cost of local inputs (indexed by the exchange rate), and the cost of land clearing (indexed by local precipitation). By implication, the opportunity cost of forested land fluctuates widely with changes in international markets and decisions by Indonesia’s financial authorities about the exchange and interest rates. The authors results suggest that forest conservation programs are unlikely to succeed if they ignore such powerful forces. The Root of The Problem - Whats Driving Tropical Deforestation Today? (2011)
13 June 2011
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In this report the authors focus on the economic agents that play a critical role in deforestation: soybeans, beef cattle, palm oil, timber and pulp, wood for fuel, and small farmers. The authors also examine the role of population and diet, which are key underlying factors in the demand for the tropical commodities causing deforestation.The authors conclude by describing successes in dealing with these drivers, and asking how the world can achieve development without deforestation. Clear-Cut Exploitation - How International Investors & REDD+ Donors Profit from Deforestation in West Papua (2011)
15 May 2011
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SUMMARY •      Indigenous landowners in Sorong, West Papua province, are being exploited by the Kayu Lapis Indonesia Group (KLI) for plantations development – at great cost to them and their forests. •      Documents obtained by EIA/Telapak reveal “land rental” agreements provide Moi landowners with as little as US$ 0.65 per hectare –land projected to be worth US$ 5,000 per hectare once developed. •      Timber payments are equally bad: KLI has paid landowners as little as US $2.8 per cubic metre of merbau – wood KLI sells for US$ 875 on export. •      Legal norms in permit allocation and timber harvesting have been routinely flouted, with little to no law enforcement by either the national or provincial government. ·         International investors – including Norway’s Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) – are profiting from the situation. This highlights a failure to incorporate commodity and investment market reforms into the REDD+ agenda, resulting in the perverse financial incentives of those markets continuing to undermine efforts to reduce deforestation and deliver sustainable development for Indonesia's indigenous peoples. The Future of Forests and Orangutans (Pongo Abelii) in Sumatera: Predicting Impacts of Oil Palm Plantations, Road Construction, and Mechanism for Reducing Carbon Emission from Deforestation (2009)
29 September 2009
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Payments for reduced carbon emissions from deforestation (RED) are now attracting attention as a way to halt tropica ldeforestation. Northern Sumatra comprises an area of 65 000 km2 that is both the site of Indonesia’s first planned RED initiative, and the stronghold of 92% of remaining Sumatran orangutans. Under current plans, this RED initiative will be implemented in a defined geographic area, essentially a newly established, 7500 km2 protected area (PA) comprising mostly upland forest, where guards will be recruited to enforce forest protection. Meanwhile, new roads are currently under construction, while companies are converting lowland forests into oil palm plantations. This case study predicts the effectiveness of RED in reducing deforestation and conserving orangutans for two distinct scenarios: the current plan of implementing RED within the specific boundary of a new upland PA, and an alternative scenario of implementing RED across landscapes outside PAs. Our satellite-based spatially explicit deforestation model predicts that 1313 km2 of forest would be saved from deforestation by 2030, while forest cover present in 2006 would shrink by 22% (7913 km2) across landscapes outside PAs if RED were only to be implemented in the upland PA. Meanwhile, orangutan habitat would reduce by 16% (1137 km2), resulting in the conservative loss of 1384 orangutans, or 25% of the current total population with or without RED intervention. By contrast, an estimated 7824 km2 of forest could be saved from deforestation, with maximum benefit for orangutan conservation, if RED were to be implemented across all remaining forest landscapes outside PAs. Here, RED payments would compensate land users for their opportunity costs in not converting unprotected forests into oil palm, while the construction of new roads to service the marketing of oil palm would be halted. Our predictions suggest that Indonesia’s first RED initiative in an upland PA may not significantly reduce deforestation in northern Sumatra and would have little impact on orangutan conservation because a large amount of forest inside the project area is protected   de facto by being inaccessible, while lowland forests will remain exposed to the combined expansion of high-revenue plantations and road networks. In contrast, RED would be more effective in terms of its conservation impact if payments were extended to all remaining carbon-rich tropical forests, including lowland peat swamp forests, the preferred habitat for dense populations of orangutans, and if the construction of new roads was halted. Deforestation in Decentralised Indonesia Whats Law Got to do With it (2008)
02 July 2008
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Despite the clear impact of political and economic factors on deforestation in decentralised Indonesia, it is unwise to ignore the impact of law on the issue.On the contrary, this essay argues that law, through both commission and omission, plays an important role in supporting unsustainable deforestation under Otda. The corollary of this argument is, however, that law also holds significant potential to ameliorate the problem. The argument is structured as follows:Part II contextualises the relationship between deforestation and decentralisation in Indonesia by highlighting the historical, political and economic factors which have set the stage for the current situation; Part III describes the legal framework for governing forests in Indonesia, by reference to Indonesia’s Constitution, the Otda laws and the Forestry Law; Part IV demonstrates the impact decentralisation has had on deforestation; and Part V builds on these discussions to analyse the ways in which law is partly responsible for the situation. Part VI then offers some concluding remarks. It should be noted that the focus here is on the municipal law of Indonesia and that, while highly important, a specific consideration of relevant bilateral and multilateral instruments is beyond the scope of this essay. The State of the Forest Indonesia (2002)
15 June 2002
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The data difficulties are formidable, but this report sets out to meet that need. It provides a comprehensive summary of the scale and pace of change affecting Indonesia’s forests and identifies the forces and actors that are driving deforestation. Forest Watch Indonesia and Global Forest Watch have compiled the best available official data and reports from environmentalists in the field to address the following questions: How much of Indonesia’s forest cover is left, and how much has been lost over the past 50 years? What is the condition of remaining forest cover today? What are the major driving forces behind deforestation, and who are the principal actors? Given current political and economic conditions in Indonesia, what are the prospects for forest policy reform? What Drives Tropical Deforestation? A meta-analysis of proximate and underlying cases of deforestation based on subnational case study evidence (2001)
02 October 2001
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This report aims at guiding the reader through the rather voluminous work. One way to read the meta-analysis. Another way is to focus on subchapters in the following. In the first, introductory chapter, a brief rationale is given why subnational – and not country-wide – case study evidence constitutes an important tool to comparatively investigate causes and drivers of change in the form of a meta-analysis as adopted here. In the second chapter, the authors outline the analytical concept of proximate and underlying causes of land change used in land use/cover change research. In the third chapter, the authors attempt to generalize results across regions or broad geographical entities (Africa, Asia, Latin America). The third section(3.3) shows variations of results other than by broad geographical entities – i.e., by forest type, area size, topography, spatial pattern and process at work, deforestation rate, and poverty- versus capital-driven deforestation. The authors recommend the reader either to browse or to go into certain variable clusters that touch his/her fields of interest. Especially in the causality and variation sections (3.2, 3.3), the reader will find cross-references at several points to guide him/her to subchapter 3.1, where proximate and underlying causes are laid down in more detail. The authors consider the results to be the first attempt relating underlying to proximate causes in a systematized manner. In the fourth chapter, the authors hold their findings against other empirical evidence on tropical deforestation. The discussion items selected, i.e., shifting cultivation, population growth, indebtedness and IPAT, are not meant to be exhaustive. Rather, the authors hope that results from this meta-analysis will help to proceed incrementally towards a platform for further explorations of tropical deforestation guided by theories. In the fifth chapter, conclusions are drawn with view on empirical results as compared to prevailing explanations of tropical forest decline, concerning future modeling of the process of deforestation, concerning policy implications, and concerning the future design of case study comparisons.

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Documents by Subject


Payment Distribution
Deforestation and Degradation
Forest Management in Indonesia
Land Tenure
Carbon Accounting
Indonesia Actions
Governance Assesstment
Financing Options
Opportunity Cost
Regulation on REDD in Indonesia
Carbon Market
REDD Demonstration Sites
Indigenous People
UNFCCC Policy on Forest Emission
Remote Survey

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Payment Distribution
Deforestation and Degradation
Forest Management in Indonesia
Land Tenure
Carbon Accounting
Indonesia Actions
Governance Assesstment
Financing Options
Opportunity Cost
Regulation on REDD in Indonesia
Carbon Market
REDD Demonstration Sites
Indigenous People
UNFCCC Policy on Forest Emission
Remote Survey