Forest loss in Indonesia, 2000-2010. Forest clearing within areas zoned for timber, logging, oil palm, and mining accounted for nearly 45 percent of deforestation in Indonesia between 2000 and 2010. Graphic: mongabay.com / Abood, et al., 2014 / DOI:10.1111/conl.12103

By Rhett A. Butler
10 April 2014

(mongabay.com) – Forest clearing within areas zoned for timber, logging, oil palm, and mining accounted for nearly 45 percent of deforestation in Indonesia between 2000 and 2010, finds a new study that examined forest loss within industrial concessions.

The research, published in the journal Conservation Letters, used a combination of satellite data and concession data to link specific activities to forest cover change. It found that of the 14.7 million hectares of forest cleared in Sumatra, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the Moluccas and Papua during the 2000's, 6.6 million hectares occurred within industrial concessions: 1.9 million hectares in fiber plantations; 1.8 million ha in logging concessions, 1.6 million ha in oil palm concessions, 0.9 million hectares in concessions with overlapping zoning, and 0.3 million hectares in coal mining concessions. The study did not assess the roughly 55 percent of deforestation that occurred outside concession areas, but oil palm development, illegal logging, industrial and smallholder agriculture, other types of mining, and fire would account for the majority of that loss.

Geographically, 48 percent forest loss within industrial concessions occurred in Kalimantan, followed by Sumatra (32 percent), Papua (12 percent), and Sulawesi (5 percent). Lowland forest accounted for three-quarters of forest loss in industrial areas. Peatlands conversion amounted to 21 percent of total loss.

The study also looked at greenhouse gas emissions from concession development. Pulp and paper plantations were the single largest source of carbon emissions during the period, accounting for more than a third of total industrial emissions. Oil palm (28 percent), logging (22 percent), and mixed concessions followed. Drivers varied dramatically by island: in Sumatra fiber plantations amounted to nearly 60 percent of emissions, while the palm oil industry in Kalimantan accounted for about 40 percent. Logging concessions were the biggest source of industrial land use emissions in Papua, Sulawesi, and the Moluccas. [more]

Forests in Indonesia's concession areas being rapidly destroyed

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