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Free «Environmental Problem on Development of Palm Oil Plantation in Kalimantan» Essay Sample


There have been great advances in demand calls for Oil palm expectation to bring major contributions towards the increasing demand of the vegetable oils over the past years. Regarding the current demand of the oil, the issue of deforestation and habitat destruction in Indonesia has become a major issue, which has called for major debates about the environmental sustainability. The palm oil plantation in Kalimantan, Indonesia is a big deal that has invested many brains to solve the problem in this area thus resulting to different dimensions to resolve the issue (Corley, 2009). The need to expand the plantation lands is an issue since this with time has resulted into land degradation and therefore to expand the plantation to increase the yields is a problem.

What lacks in these regions is the way to improve the yield and the potential land improvement measures required to improve the yield production. The fighting for space and land gambling is the major issue that is killing the motivation to develop the existing cultivation lands. If there are yield improvement measures on the existing cultivations this would greatly improve the potential lands and reduce the rate of land expansion. In addition, planting in the wasteland, that is, the degraded forestland and the anthropogenic grassland can be a solution to the issue that calls for the research on the four types of land that are necessary for palm oil plantations.  The four land types of land those are ideal for this process is the hilly forest, flat-forested areas, that is, the alang-alang grasslands, existing plantations and the degraded forest areas. The need to improve the production rates of the palm oil in Kalimantan, Indonesia is the major issue that calls for the satisfaction of the need to cater for the increased rate of consumption.   



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The Indonesia’s plans to stop the plans that are in the forward to enhance the expansion of the plantations greatly have affected the palm oil production in the plantations. This came a few years after the Indonesia’s minister of agriculture announced the governments’ plan to expand the plantations. Despite the efforts made by the Indonesian palm oil commission (IPOC), to put more efforts in the restoration of the land, to create the image of the palm oil plantations the government, turn out to be the one opposing the project. As a result, the governments plan to expand the plantation, which is environmentally compromising the situation (Paramananthan, 2007). Despite the many challenges, IPOC succeeded in the restoration plans abroad. The IPOC success died in June 2005, when the Indonesia minister of agriculture released the details that the government had other plans to have the plantation expanded in a 5-10 kilometer band that planned to the world’s largest palm oil plantation along the Kalimantan and Malaysia border. The president had $567 to finance the project, which had met up with the Chinese government to have them undertake the project.    

Though the plan to expand the plantation had prospective protection and economic viability, on the other had, it turned out to be sour for the environmental degradation. The letter from the government to expand the palm oil plantation in Kalimantan, Indonesia, contained the map that had no doubt to be 1.8 million hectares of land that were in the business plan to expand the plantation. This project targeted three main forests preserved as national parks, which would cut across to the slopes and the mountains of the indigenous Dayak community border area.

The fight to save the lands caught the attention of the civil society, Indonesian media and the foreign diplomats to force the Indonesian government to change the projected plans that it had on the expansion of the plantation. Despite these efforts, the following issues came up in the quest to halt the government’s plans: to save the environment the agriculture minister promised that he would not release that protected forests in the border area conversion to palm oil plantation. In addition the president, although he supported the expansion idea he acknowledged the need to preserve the land the conservation of the national heritage. To support this idea to protect the environment the minister of agriculture, acknowledged that 97% the area selected for the expansion plan was unsuitable for the palm oil plantation. To help in the implementation plan both ministers gave a go ahead to invest the palm oil plantation on the abandoned land areas within the region (Rudin, 1935). This in turn, would bring wasteland into use thus saving the environment from the increase of the green house gases and other ambient gases that accumulate to the ambient thus creating unconducive atmosphere for the whole environment and the inhabitants. Later the government came to acknowledge the need to plan to save the biological sites and reduce the need to have the palm oil plantation expanded.

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If the plans to expand the plantations succeed the future, would cater for demand since the yield will have increased. Although the plan to expand the land is not the only solution, proper crop management can be very important in the fight to improve the land production in Indonesia. Despite the efforts, expansion of the oil plantation has not had much impact on the production of the palm oil in the last forty years. While the land expansion has increased since 1965, from 80000 ha to 4.6 million ha in 2007, the rate of production seems to be stagnated, as this has not shown much increase in the production. This is a clear mark that the production rate is directly proportional to the land management plans to develop the necessary improvements that are necessary to have higher yields.

Over the past twenty years or so, the yield has declined despite the land expansion plans since this does not mean the acquired land is equally fertile to meet the required results. The yield decrease may have been because of expansion to the areas that are less fertile and they have climatic constraints towards production.  These expansion plans are all environmentally disturbing and they create fights between those planning the expansion and the civil society and other international bodies that protect the environment. Failure to protect the environment can cause the uncertain cause that would otherwise compromise the environmental development.

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How to solve the palm oil plantation issue

Although the yield of the palm oil need yield improvement, this is not enough to achieve the desired production rate. However, if the abandoned land is utilized and the current land in use utilized to cover the plantation, the yield production would in turn increase giving desirable production of the palm oil. This would cub the problems related to the yield gap and the issues that relate to the environment as the major issue that needs protection from the designated bodies and organizations (Martin, 1986). The many social conflicts that arise from large-scale palm oil plantations for industrial logging, involve the fight from the locals that need to manage their national heritage. The environment faces the fight between the protagonists who are the indigenous people against the state and its machines (police forces military, departments of forestry, environment, local governments, and agriculture ministry). The problems that arise are because of the government failure to recognize the indigenous peoples’ land rights; the government practices the discriminatory laws and policies that fail to recognize the indigenous peoples land rights. The misuse of the laws results to development of the plantations on the cultural grounds that the indigenous people protect against the ill will of the government to use it while they destroy the environment (Hüseyin, et al., 2007). In Kalimantan, Indonesia, the rights of the indigenous land rights is not recognized in the name of national development, and as this greatly affects the environmental planning measures that can be used to protect the environment.

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The existence of the continuous application of the land development and expansion measures for the purpose of production increase causes mayhem to the indigenous land protection rights. The governments in the name of national development have destroyed the environment when the government plans to improve and increase in the palm oil plantations without considering the future outcome (Burnham, and Whitmore, 1984). These land degradation measures would result to increased green house gases, which would in turn cause global temperature increase. If the civil society and the international bodies join hands they should target the protection of the indigenous peoples land right against the governments plans to expand the lands.  In order to succeed in these plans there should be incorporation of proper yield improvement measures and teach the indigenous people how to improve on the yield improvement.

Despite the governments’ plan to have the palm oil plantation expansion they should focus on the utilization of the abandoned land and use it to ensure that they have more land for palm oil plantation. In addition, the wasteland brought into use should have yield improvement practices to ensure that there is less environmental pollution and destruction of the forests. Large-scale plantation result into land erosion, which affects the indigenous land tenure practices and this, ought to be protected against the land degradation practices to ensure the land freedom is maintained.

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As Large-scale monoculture, plantations are more pronounced as part of economic growth, there is need to incorporate the environmental saving plan that the Kalimantan region require. To ensure the success to this the forestry expansion plans to institute and implemented through the support of the multilateral financing institutions like World Bank, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), and the Asian Development Bank and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). Such forestry programmes include Tropical Forestry Action Plan (TFAP), which pioneered by the World Bank in conjunction with the UNDP, World Resources Institute (WRI) and FAO. TFAP plan included the expansion of the sustained yield for the forestry development plan and help the fight against deforestation. In the fight increase, the forestry protection the TFA P majorly focused its development of the growing of the eucalyptus and acacia trees in the tropical forests used in paper and d pulp production (Glover, and Jessup, 2006). The December 1996 meeting intensified the land protection measures that focused on the protection of the environment and the indigenous people’s rights together with those who rely on the forest. The deforestation being an issue on question the underlying cause deforestation included expansion of the plantations to increase the palm oil production in Kalimantan (Niklas, and Enquist, 2002).

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Palm oil agro-forestry

Palm oil is environmentally friendly and therefore recommendable for many regions as part of the plantation expansion it can be included in agro-forestry programmes. Despite the many accusations against cutting trees to plant the palm oil, its incorporation to the existing forest plantation is possible and still thrives to give the desired produce (Six, et al., 2002).

Indonesia produces the desired amount of produce that amounts to about 605 of the exports to china, the European countries India, United States, and Pakistan. Compared to the neighbor country, Malaysia Kalimantan gives the highest palm oil production per year raising the production data increase to over 400% percent. Fig 1 below is an analysis of the palm oil production comparison between the two countries, Malaysia and Indonesia the period between 1994 to2006 (Tomich, et al, 1996).

Despite the many promises to cancel, the palm oil expansion there has been no public announcement form the president on the matter but as proposed by PTPN there is yet a cancelling statement that was awaiting the presidential assent (Corley, and Tinker, 2003).  The palm oil companies with time have been shifting to Kalimantan and therefore investing much of their time and resources to the expansion of the oil palm plantations. These palm oil expansion plans have been a great threat to the local communities so; the ministry of forestry and that of agriculture have had plans to incorporate the growing of the cash crops other than the palm oil. Such cash crops would include coffee, tea, cocoa and pepper but since the government has plans to expand the growing programme of palm oil, these suggestions are futile (Corley and Gray, 1971).

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Fight against the government is suicidal since they hardly give therefore the presidential assent to the empowering the law to protect the land is necessary. If the president gives, an assent to stop the land expansion proggramme the environment would be saved (Terry, et al, 1997). Therefore, increasing the productivity of the existing land is a better solution to the problem. On the other hand, the agricultural sector should come in and ensure that there is incorporation of land utilization plans are in within the system to ensure that the indigenous land is save. Such mitigation measures that the programme needs to incorporate in the system include agro-forestry, and land tenure management through use of the abandoned land (Whitmore, 1984). These can be the key to the development of the new plans that the targeted land will be save through the incorporation of these mitigation measures. Under the presidential regulation No. 36/2005 of Indonesia, there should be no enforcement of the oil palm development projects that involve force or fight.

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Civil society, the government, the ministry of forestry and ministry of agriculture, should be in the front line to protect the local communities against the barbarian laws that deny them the land rights for growing and maintain the natural forest, while they grow other cash crops. There is need to incorporate the right mitigation plans also in the system to ensure that the use of the land is well planned and reduce the expansion programs (Ataga et al., 1986). In order to have sustainable palm oil the Indonesian government should plan to have the right proceedings that help to grow only what the market needs. 


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