Special Issue "Oil Palm Landscapes: Social, Economic and Environmental Issues and Solutions"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X). This special issue belongs to the section "Land Socio-Economic and Political Issues".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (28 February 2022) | Viewed by 9379

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Harpinder Sandhu
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Natural and Built Environments, University of South Australia, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Interests: sustainable agriculture; organic farming; theory and practice of ecosystem services; true cost accounting in agriculture, agroecology; rural ssociety and environment interactions
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Andrew Millington
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
College of Science and Engineering, Flinders University, GPO Box 2100, Adelaide, SA 5001, Australia
Interests: land use dynamics and potential impacts around increased foreign ownership of farmland in Australia; the coca/cocaine trade as a driver of land use dynamics in humid tropical forests; analysis of landscape fragmentation patterns in tropical and sub-tropical landscapes
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Palm oil is the world’s most commonly produced oil crop with an annual production of 60 million tonnes. Production has grown exponentially in the last two decades due to its use in food production, cosmetics and as a lubricant; in part due to cheap market prices. Its consumption has significantly altered diets around the world with attendant consequences for human health.

The geographical distribution of the five biggest producers (Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand, Colombia and Nigeria) underlines the fact that it is a widespread, economically-important, export crop of humid tropical countries. In such countries, the growth in palm oil trade and the expansion oil palm-dominated landscapes has been associated with environmental problems such as loss of biodiversity, forest fires and carbon loss; the displacement of people; and a change in diets around the world. At the same time, these landscapes provide livelihoods to millions of small holder farmers and some tropical countries are using the expansion of oil palm as a key policy for poverty alleviation while simultaneously increasing export income. Hence, the key paradox with modern oil palm landscapes is that they generate negative impacts and positive benefits.

This special issue aims to widen the scope of research on oil palm to collate multi-disciplinary studies that highlight such positive benefits and negative impacts. We encourage scholars from the social and natural sciences to contribute to this special issue of LAND on any environmental, economic and social issue associated with the expansion of oil-palm dominated landscapes. We anticipate that it will play vital role in helping policy makers to develop appropriate policy responses to protect the environment and livelihoods.

Dr. Harpinder Sandhu
Prof. Dr. Andrew Millington
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • oil palm
  • palm oil
  • biodiversity
  • smallholder
  • natural capital
  • ecosystem services
  • social capital
  • environmental impacts
  • costs and benefits
  • carbon sequestration
  • land use change

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Article
Oil Palm Land Use Change and Rice Sustainability in South Sumatra, Indonesia
Land 2022, 11(5), 669; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11050669 - 30 Apr 2022
Viewed by 597
Abstract
The massive development of oil palm plantations has made Indonesia the country with the largest land area of oil palm production in the world. However, it is feared that the massive development of oil palm will disrupt national food security. This paper aims [...] Read more.
The massive development of oil palm plantations has made Indonesia the country with the largest land area of oil palm production in the world. However, it is feared that the massive development of oil palm will disrupt national food security. This paper aims to examine the implications of the development of oil palm plantations on the sustainability of rice plants in South Sumatra. The data for analysis are secondary data from the Ministry of Agriculture and the Central Statistics Agency of Indonesia. The results showed that, in the period of 1991–2017, the oil palm land area in South Sumatra increased by more than the rice area. Several districts have become centers of oil palm development, especially Musi Banyuasin and OKU. Although it is increasing rapidly, the development of oil palm does not interfere with the sustainability of rice in South Sumatra, which can be seen from the increase of the land area and productivity of rice. The areas of oil palm land in Musi Banyuasin and OKU is dominant over that of rice. With the more rapid development of the oil palm land area, in the next few years the dominance of oil palm plantations over rice will occur in several districts in South Sumatra. Full article
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Article
Incentives for Palm Oil Smallholders in Mandatory Certification in Indonesia
Land 2022, 11(4), 576; https://doi.org/10.3390/land11040576 - 14 Apr 2022
Viewed by 768
Abstract
The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) is a mandatory certification for palm oil plantations based on compliance with Indonesia’s regulations. Its implementation has been slow, particularly for independent smallholders that face problems of complicated requirements, limited capacity, and limited funding. Meanwhile, limited incentives [...] Read more.
The Indonesian Sustainable Palm Oil (ISPO) is a mandatory certification for palm oil plantations based on compliance with Indonesia’s regulations. Its implementation has been slow, particularly for independent smallholders that face problems of complicated requirements, limited capacity, and limited funding. Meanwhile, limited incentives are in place, either in the form of premium prices, ease of regulation, or funding. This article aims to elaborate on the role of incentives and their options in supporting the acceleration of ISPO implementation to ensure and improve the market access of smallholders. It identifies ways to develop incentives to facilitate the acceleration of ISPO certification and alternative financing sources available to support this. The method of this research is based on qualitative methodology using a literature review, policy document analysis, and in-depth interviews with informants from the government and smallholders. The analysis of this article shows that incentives are needed in the form of funding, regulatory measures, technical assistance, promotion, and rewards for good practices to provide better facilitation and financial support for the regulatory compliance in the legal, managerial and financial aspects of the ISPO. These incentives target government and smallholders. Implications for enabling these incentives include the improvement of government coordination, improved understanding of challenges faced by smallholders, and adoption of innovative approaches to manage financial resources, which are crucial to facilitate smallholders’ capacity and organizational improvement. Full article
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Article
Children’s Rights in the Indonesian Oil Palm Industry: Improving Company Respect for the Rights of the Child
Land 2021, 10(5), 500; https://doi.org/10.3390/land10050500 - 08 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1777
Abstract
Although companies have many direct and indirect impacts on the lives of children, discussion of the responsibility of business to respect the rights of children has primarily focused on child labor. Using UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business Principles as a framework for our [...] Read more.
Although companies have many direct and indirect impacts on the lives of children, discussion of the responsibility of business to respect the rights of children has primarily focused on child labor. Using UNICEF’s Children’s Rights and Business Principles as a framework for our analysis, we considered the activities of oil palm plantation companies operating in Indonesia. Our data come from key informant interviews and reflection on two programs established to promote respect for children’s rights in the Indonesian palm oil industry: one by Pusat Kajian Perlindungan Anak (PKPA) (Center for Child Study and Protection); and one by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in conjunction with UNICEF. We considered: how plantation company activities impacted children’s lives; how companies demonstrated respect for children’s rights; and how observance of children’s rights can be improved. We discuss four problematic issues: getting company commitments to children’s rights into policy and practice; having a strong business case for respecting human rights and children’s rights; contradictory objectives within companies; and complexities around children in the workplace. We argue that a children’s rights based approach should be applied to the activities of all organizations. This children’s rights lens is needed to overcome the invisibility of children in society and industry, and to address the root causes of human rights harms. We note that respecting children’s rights will likely contribute to getting a social license to operate and grow. Full article
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Article
Dynamics of Rural Economy: A Socio-Economic Understanding of Oil Palm Expansion and Landscape Changes in East Kalimantan, Indonesia
Land 2020, 9(7), 213; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9070213 - 01 Jul 2020
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 3261
Abstract
The fast-growing palm oil economy has stimulated a significant expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. The uncontrolled development of large oil palm plantations has raised complex socio-ecological issues, including changes of ecological landscapes, organization of production, and farming household livelihood systems. For [...] Read more.
The fast-growing palm oil economy has stimulated a significant expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. The uncontrolled development of large oil palm plantations has raised complex socio-ecological issues, including changes of ecological landscapes, organization of production, and farming household livelihood systems. For two oil palm villages with different ecological settings, this article describes changes in land cover, how production is organized, and the income structure changes due to rural economic development. The research used survey approaches and analysis of earth maps, assisted by data obtained from satellite imagery. A qualitative approach was also used to support a survey via in-depth interviews. The research was carried out in two oil palm economy-based villages of Kutai Kartanegara District, of the Province of East Kalimantan of Indonesia. The first village is located very close to the center of regional administration and has evolved into a non-farming economy. In contrast, the other village is more isolated and solely relies on farming activities. The study found that changes of land cover caused by oil palm expansion could be categorized into two types, concentrated and spotted, following the influence of oil palm investment activities. It was also found that organization of the production of most smallholders existed in two types of arrangements, partial and total integration of production. From the perspective of livelihood, two different types of income structures emerged, diversified and uniform. This article concludes that responses of smallholders to palm oil spread varied depending on the ecological setting, the existence of the already established plantation economy in the region, the capacity of the smallholders to diversify economic activities based on palm oil, and the exposure to external economic activities. Full article
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Article
Quantifying the Economic Value of Ecosystem Services in Oil Palm Dominated Landscapes in Riau Province in Sumatra, Indonesia
Land 2020, 9(6), 194; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9060194 - 11 Jun 2020
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 1867
Abstract
Ecosystem services in oil palm plantations owned by smallholders in four villages in the Riau Province, Indonesia were identified and valued. Nine provisioning, three regulating and maintenance, one cultural ecosystem service, and a single ecosystem dis-service, were identified from interviews with 62 farming [...] Read more.
Ecosystem services in oil palm plantations owned by smallholders in four villages in the Riau Province, Indonesia were identified and valued. Nine provisioning, three regulating and maintenance, one cultural ecosystem service, and a single ecosystem dis-service, were identified from interviews with 62 farming households. Direct and indirect market valuation methods were used to estimate the total economic value (TEV) of these services, which averaged USD 6520 ha−1 year−1 (range = USD 2970–7729 ha−1 year−1). The values of provisioning services were USD 4331 ha−1 year−1 (range = USD 2263–5489 ha−1 year−1), regulating and maintenance services were valued at USD 1880 ha−1 year−1 (range of USD 707–3110 ha−1 year−1), and cultural services were USD 309 ha−1 year−1. We conclude that identifying and valuing ecosystem services offers an opportunity to improve the environmental and economic sustainability of smallholders in oil palm landscapes in Indonesia. Full article
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