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The Changing Context of Indonesian Deforestation: Explaining Declining Rates and Remaining Threats
New research by Chain Reaction Research shows deforestation in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea attributed to the development of oil palm plantations has fallen to its lowest level since 2017. In 2021, 19,000 hectares (ha) of forest and peat were cleared for oil palm plantation development in the three countries. In 2018, the amount of land cleared increased to 74,000 ha, and in 2019, the figure rose to 90,000 ha before falling drastically in 2020, when 38,000 ha were detected. In 2020, approximately 22,000 ha could be attributed to just 10 companies. Last year, the 10 largest deforesters cleared approximately 8,000 ha, or 42 percent of total deforestation.

As in previous years, most deforestation has occurred in Indonesia. Eight of the ten largest deforesters of 2021 are developing concessions in the country, where a total of 15,900 ha of forest and peat was cleared in 2021. The declining deforestation rates for oil palm in Indonesia are promising. However, recent government legislation, the increasing demand for biofuels, the leakage market and the increasing price of crude palm oil all risk more forest being cleared. Join Chain Reaction Research’s expert analysts and guests from The Gecko Project to discuss the changing context of Indonesian deforestation.
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