Studying the impacts of development in Indonesia

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© CIFOR/Agus Andrianto

BOGOR, Indonesia (4 May, 2011)_CIFOR’s research in Indonesia’s Papua province has contributed to a reconsideration of the extent and pace of land being allocated for oil palm and timber plantations, as communities learn more about their social, environmental and economic impacts.

Boven Digoel is a district in Papua province that had become a target for investment in oil palm plantations and industrial timber estates. CIFOR’s research there, to be published in 2011, found that oil palm development contributed to the economy through tax revenues and employment. However, the plantations caused significant environmental damage and conflicts over land.

As a result of CIFOR’s study, the government of Boven Digoel district postponed authorisation of large-scale initiatives until more is known about how to manage their impacts.

CIFOR research also contributed to a reduction by nearly two-thirds in a plan to convert 2 million hectares of indigenous people’s land into an industrial agriculture and biofuels estate in Papua’s Merauke District.

The research, which involved consultations with villages and participatory mapping of the land by local communities, helped to resolve existing conflicts between clans over land tenure. The research outputs have been used extensively by tribal leadership to inform their participation in discussions related to large-scale land acquisition for timber plantations and other estates.

The leader of the Malin-Anim tribal community sent a letter to CIFOR indicating that the project greatly improved their understanding of the value and fragility of their natural resources, and strengthened their resolve in negotiations with plantation investors.

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For more information:

Local timber demand and chainsaw milling in Papua, Indonesia by Andrianto, A.; Obidzinski, K.; Komarudin, H

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