Assumptions about the role of industrial plantations in Borneo forest loss


Photo credit: CIFOR   

Degraded land in Tebo in East Kalimantan alternates between bare earth and tree stumps. David Gaveau/CIFOR

Delving into drivers of deforestation

New study analyzes four decades of satellite images – overturning assumptions about the role of industrial plantations in Borneo forest loss

Debates over forest loss in Borneo generally focus on the extent to which industrial plantations are to blame: those on the conservation side charge oil palm and pulp and paper for the destruction of tropical rainforest, those on the plantation side tend to argue that planting is done on already deforested land.

Until now, both sides have lacked clear evidence to justify their claims.

“The story is complex, drivers of deforestation are many. Until now we lacked information to distinguish so-called good and bad plantations,” said Douglas Sheil of the Norwegian University of Life Science.

Read the full story: CIFOR

Published by

Willem Van Cotthem

Honorary Professor of Botany, University of Ghent (Belgium). Scientific Consultant for Desertification and Sustainable Development.