Looking into the origin of oil palm plantation areas in Indonesia, it can be concluded that expansion of oil palm plantations is not the main trigger of deforestation in Indonesia. Data from Citra Land Set (Gunarso, et al, 2012) and other research show the origin of oil palm plantations from both the results of deforestation and reforestation (Table).
Table: Origin of Oil Palm Plantation Areas in Indonesia (hectares)
||Oil palm areas from deforestation2. 4
||Oil palm areas from reforestation 2. 5
| Up to 2000
| 2011-2013 1. 3
1Statistics of Indonesian Oil Palm Plantations.
2Gunarso, et al (2012) Analysis of Land Covers and its Conversion into Oil Palm Plantations in Indonesia.
3 Since the issuance of the moratorium based on Presidential Instruction (Inpres) No. 10/2011, Inpres No. 6/2013, Inpres No. 8/2015), forest is no longer being converted into new oil palm plantations.
4 Deforestation (conversion of exploited production forest into oil palm plantations).
5 Reforestation (conversion of farm land/neglected land into oil palm plantations).
The above table shows that oil palm plantation areas from deforestation (conversion of the exploited production forest) only amounts to about 2.5 million ha, while from reforestation (conversion of farm land/neglected land) reach 7.9 million hectares. Therefore, the net expansion (reforestation/deforestation) of oil palm plantations in Indonesia comes from reforestation (increasing the areas for carbon stocks) covering 5.3 million ha.
Consequently, besides not being the main trigger of deforestation, Indonesian oil palm plantations are developed from reforestation. Accusations that expansion of oil palm plantations is the main trigger of deforestation is not backed up by data. Oil palm plantations even rehabilitate damaged ecology and regional economies caused by previous logging.