Sulawesi Island is actually not a major oil palm plantation center in Indonesia. The oil palm plantations on the island only covered 0.37 million hectares in 2015, only about 3 percent of the national oil palm plantation areas. The development of oil palm plantations on Sulawesi took place only after the era of logging on the island.
In 1950 there were 17.0 million ha of forest areas on Sulawesi. From 1950 to 1985, conversion of forests into non-forest areas reached 7.2 million ha (Figure), while oil palm plantations only covered 5,000 ha, 0.07 percent of the forest conversion areas.
Total conversion of forests into non-forest areas reached 7.8 million hectares by the year 2000, while the oil palm plantation areas increased only by 100,000 ha, 1.4 percent of the total conversion areas.
In other words, from 1950 to 2014, the accumulated area of forest converted into non-forests on Sulawesi reached 9.9 million ha, while the oil palm plantation areas on Sulawesi in the same period were only 400,000 ha, 3.5 percent of the total conversion accumulation. So the oil palm plantations are not the main trigger of the conversion of forests into non-forests on Sulawesi Island.