JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 13 : THE FACTS BEHIND ISSUES OF FOREST AND LAND FIRES IN INDONESIA THAT INCRIMINATING THE PALM OIL INDUSTRY
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Forest and land fires disaster which affected the haze that occured every year in Indonesian territory, used by national and international anti-palm oil NGOs to build a bad image of palm oil. With the support of framing news from the mass media that canalization of forest and land fires that occurred in Indonesia to incriminating and accuse the palm oil industry as the main actor behind the forest and land fires that occurred in Indonesia without being based on rational analysis and empirical evidence.
Land around of oil palm plantations concession was burnt or land that has been burned and then used for oil palm plantations, is considered as evidence of the justification of that allegations. It was impressed that the conclusion of the cause of the fired has already been built “on the table”, so that in the field it only collects data and information that justifies a conclusion that have been determined before.
Big concern from global community on the issue also shows this disaster as if specific only occured in Indonesia. However, this is indisputable through data from various sources showed that the average area of forest and land fires per year in developed countries such as the United States, Europe and Russia is still relatively larger than Indonesia.
Forest and land fires also occured in all provinces of Indonesia. Several provincies of palm oil central such as South Sumateran, Central Kalimantan, West Kalimantan and South Kalimantan have land and forest fires that relatively extensive. However, forest and land fires also occured in provinces that do not have oil palm plantations. This facts showed that the issues developed by anti-palm oil NGOs that mention forest and land fires in Indonesia occur systematically and specifically related to the development of oil palm plantations, are false accusations.
The anti-palm oil NGO accusations also do not suitable with the data and empirical facts which showed that most hotspots are outside the concession with proportion by 68 percent. Meanwhile, the the hotspots in the oil palm concession are relatively small about 11 percent, or lower than the hotspots in the pulpwood concession (16 percent).
If it is true, the palm oil industry as an main actor behind the forest and land fire in Indonesia, actually the farmers or the corporation of oil palm plantation are also victims who suffer losses. Beside the risk of criminal penalties and large fines, the palm oil industry will also suffer a substantial loss are the productivity decline and lower acceptance or rejection from consumer in developed markets because consumer preferences towards high sustainable aspects are not fulfill. To avoid these losses, the farmers and oil palm corporations carry out mitigation and other preventive to prevent the occurrence of hotspots on their land or surrounding land so that forest and land fires do not occur.