Oil palm plantations are the main trigger of conversion of forest into non-forest areas on Sumatra Island.

Perkebunan kelapa sawit merupakan pemicu utama konversi hutan menjadi non hutan di Pulau Sumatera.

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Sumatra Island is where the early development of oil palm plantations took place. It is also where major development of Indonesian oil palm plantations has continued to take place. According to 2015 data from the Agriculture Ministry, about 63 percent of the national oil palm plantation areas are on Sumatra. Are oil palm plantations the chief trigger of conversion of forest into non-forest areas on Sumatra Island?

In 1950 there were 37.4 million ha of forest areas on Sumatra. From 1950 to 1985 the conversion of forest into non-forest areas reached 23.8 million ha (Figure). Meanwhile, the expansion of oil palm plantations in the same period took up only 0.5 million ha, 2.3 percent. Total conversion of forests into non-forest areas increased to 31.6 million hectares by the year 2000. However, the oil palm plantation areas increased only to 2.7 million hectares, 8.6 percent.

In other words, from 1950 to 2014 the conversion of forest into non-forest areas on Sumatra Island reached 34.2 million ha, while those earmarked for oil palm plantation development on Sumatra Island in the corresponding period were 6.8 million ha, only 19.9 percent of the total conversion area.

Therefore, oil palm plantations are not the main trigger of the conversion of forest into non-forest areas on Sumatra Island. About 80 percent of forest conversion areas are used for purposes other than oil palm plantations.

Pulau Sumatera merupakan daerah awal perkembangan sekaligus sentra utama perkebunan kelapa sawit Indonesia. Menurut data Kementerian Pertanian (2015) sekitar 63 persen dari areal kebun sawit nasional berada di Pulau Sumatera. Apakah perkebunan kelapa sawit menjadi pemicu utama konversi hutan menjadi non hutan di Pulau Sumatera?

Pada tahun 1950 luas hutan di Sumatera adalah 37,4 juta ha. Pada kurun waktu 1950-1985 luas konversi hutan menjadi non hutan mencapai 23,8 juta hektar (Gambar). Sementara perluasan perkebunan sawit hanya 0,5 juta hektar atau 2,3 persen. Akumulasi konversi hutan menjadi non hutan pada kurun waktu 1985-2000, meningkat menjadi 31,6 juta ha. Namun luas perkebunan sawit hanya naik menjadi 2,7 juta hektar atau 8,6 persen.

Dengan kata lain selama kurun waktu 1950-2014, luas konversi hutan menjadi non hutan di Pulau Sumatera mencapai 34,2 juta ha. Sedangkan luas perkebunan sawit Pulau Sumatera pada waktu yang sama adalah 6,8 juta hektar atau hanya 19,9 persen dari luas total koversi tersebut.

Dengan demikian perkebunan kelapa sawit bukanlah pemicu utama konversi hutan menjadi non hutan di Pulau Sumatera. Sekitar 80 persen hasil konversi hutan dipergunakan untuk kepentingan sektor diluar kebun sawit.

Figure Oil palm plantations in the conversion of land use on Sumatra Island

Oil palm plantations in the conversion of land use on Sumatra Island

Source : Forestry Statistics, Plantation Statistics, processed data

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