Media coverage

Each year, CIFOR’s research and scientists are mentioned in over 1,500 news stories by local and international media outlets worldwide. Find the latest here, with over a decade of archives.

Palm Oil Industry Tainted By Activists’ Murders

The killing of two activists by a group of hit men at the behest of an oil palm businessman in North Sumatra province has shocked the public, adding to a long list of concerns over Indonesia’s palm oil industry, the world’s biggest, from allegations of child labor to corruption and deliberate destruction of forest land by burning.

A 2015 Indonesian-language Research paper by Herry Purnomo, et al, from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) entitled “Smoke Haze, Land Use and Local Politics” concluded that there was a link between forest and land fires and the holding of local elections. The study found that the number of hotspots on the islands of Kalimantan and Sumatra always increased sharply ahead of the elections.

“The elections are correlated with an increase in the number of burned land. In addition, the number of land clearing permits also increases ahead of the election.”

The report said regional head elections often involve “land transactions,” in which prospective regional leaders give residents or migrants access to manage land to attract their sympathies. Businessman also often provide financial assistance to prospective regional heads in return getting land permits when the candidate is elected.
Read more on Asia Sentinel