Profit and loss: Indonesia’s palm oil plantations
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Profit and loss: Indonesia’s palm oil plantations

From the tropical rain forest on the island of Sumatra, Gunung Leuser National Park became one of the world’s oxygen donors. There are in two provinces, Aceh and North Sumatra. North Sumatra. A total of 163,000 ha of forest area was turned into a plantation area, with the dominance of oil palm plantations. Some observers of an environmental NGO said that number will grow rapidly. In the Gunung Leuser National Park in Langkat district, North Sumatra, the plantation area has begun to enter and pass through the legal limit is a conservation area.

The conservation area of ​​the Gunung Leuser National Park is a diverse habitat for native fauna and flora. Sumatran orangutans live in the canopy of Gunung Leuser National Park and live next door to the Sumatran Elephant. With the burgeoning plantations, the survival of threatened species endemic to Sumatra, plus more poaching is conducted there.


A worker picked up a bunch of palm oil has just dropped at the government-owned oil palm plantation in North Sumatra, Indonesia. Pic: Chalid Nasution.

Profits from Indonesian palm oil have hit US$10bn and the government hasn’t yet had enough, proof the development of oil palm plantation will be expanded even further with the consequences of consuming the protected forest land.

Not only from the management of oil palm plantation company PT Perkebunan Nusantara (PTPN) III, which controls most of the oil palm plantations in Sumatra,  but by the demand for the wood from palm trunks.

Sumatran land is very suitable for developing oil palm plantations and palm oil has been produced there since the Dutch colonisation of Indonesia. And since hundreds of years ago to 2011, the lands of Sumatra became the target of domestic and foreign investors for oil palm cultivation.

There are 1,500 industries operating in North Sumatra. Palm oil operations account for half of these. The rest are  rubber and other processing industries. From the oil palm industry, the estimated emissions generated per year reach 2.057 million tons of CO2.