Oil palm and rubber-driven deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia (2000-2021) and efforts toward zero deforestation commitments

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This study evaluates the oil palm and rubber-driven deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia between 2000–2021 through secondary data analysis from a rich data set by collecting and integrating secondary data from multiple sources. Results show a significant tree cover loss, including 82% and 250% of primary forest loss in Indonesia and Malaysia. Oil palm harvested area increased by 650% in Indonesia and 50% in Malaysia, while palm oil production rose by 566% in Indonesia and 65% in Malaysia over the same period. The study also find that rubber-harvested areas increased by 54% in Indonesia but decreased by 20% in Malaysia, with rubber production increasing by 108% in Indonesia but decreasing by 49% in Malaysia. Over the past two decades, Indonesia’s palm oil export volume has risen by 619%, while Malaysia’s has increased by 83%. Indonesia’s natural rubber export volume also increased by 69%, but Malaysia’s decreased by 33%. The study reveals that the impact of oil palm and rubber on deforestation varies by region and period. However, plantation expansion and associated forest conversion have slowed, which can be associated with the consumer demand for no deforestation oil palm and rubber products. Many of the world’s largest traders and producers have pledged zero deforestation commitments, guaranteeing the elimination of deforestation from their supply chains in Indonesia and Malaysia. Such commitments can only be accomplished through government, private sector, farmers, and community collaboration. Finally, to ensure sustainability in these sectors, comprehensive policies and practical solutions that support farmers’ livelihoods are also crucial.

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