Exponential increase in land area used for oil palm cultivation in Indonesia has been possible primarily through the clearance of primary and secondary forests and other vegetative growths. As the population of Indonesia has increased, there has been progressive deforestation, so that enough land could be made available for all kinds of human activities, including agriculture. In Indonesia’s case, the pressure on land clearance has been intense and sustained, especially during the last 50 years, because of oil palm, rubber and timber plantations. The problems have been further exacerbated by the absence of any reasonable land use planning and absence of good environmental policies and management practices.
Spurred by steadily increasing global demands for palm oil, timber and rubber, Indonesia has progressively lost forest cover to agricultural development due to deliberate and intentional burning.
By Asit K. Biswas and Cecilia Tortajada, Chapter of the book: Pollution Across Borders: Transboundary Fire, Smoke and Haze in Southeast Asia, edited by Euston Quah and Tsiat Siong Tan, 2018, World Scientific, Singapore, pages 1-18. DOI: 10.1142/9789813203921_0001