Kalimantan province on Borneo Island has become a center of the world’s attention on issues of forest conservation. The world’s attention on Borneo Island has been rising since the island constitutes an area of Indonesian oil palm development. Therefore, perception has been built up that the expansion of oil palm plantations has become the main trigger of the reduction of forest areas in Kalimantan.
Data of the history of conversion shows that in 1950 there were 51.4 million ha of forest areas in Kalimantan. From 1950 to 1985, the conversion of forests into non-forests areas reached 13.1 million hectares (Figure). Meanwhile, in the same period, oil palm plantations reached only 0.04 million hectares, 0.1 percent of the total forest conversion on the island.
Conversion of forests into non-forests increased to 20.2 million hectares by the year 2000, while oil palm plantation development reached only 0.8 million ha, 3 percent of the total forest conversion areas.
In other words, from 1950 to 2014, total conversion of forests into non-forest areas in Kalimantan reached 27.4 million hectares, while the oil palm plantation areas in Kalimantan covered only 3.4 million ha, 13 percent of the total forest conversion areas.
Therefore, the perception that oil palm plantations have become the main trigger of the conversion of forests into non-forests is not supported by data.