Local impacts of industrial tree plantations: An empirical analysis in Indonesia across plantation types

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The values ascribed to industrial tree plantations are often controversial. Hence knowledge of their perceived impacts is important for improving their integration in rural landscapes. In 2016 we conducted household surveys with 606 respondents living in villages adjacent to acacia, teak and pine plantations across three islands in Indonesia (Java, Borneo, Sumatra). Results show that perceptions toward pine and teak plantations tend to differ from those toward acacia pulpwood plantations in several ways. Pine and teak plantations are perceived to have a higher number and variety of benefits and services, a higher number of positive impacts, a better environmental record, and to present more opportunities to local people for use of plantation land and products for improving rural livelihoods. In addition, we find that villagers around acacia pulpwood plantations tend to seek economic development and infrastructure to open up remote areas, yet their expectations were often only partially met. Recommendations from our analysis include: the role of the State in plantations must be clarified and potentially reinforced; the role of institutions as intermediaries is fundamental; and contributions by communities to design of management plans should be accommodated.

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