Study maps 187 land conflicts as palm oil expands in Kalimantan

Palm oil production in Indonesia often comes at the expense of traditionally managed lands as well as the livelihoods of indigenous communities, causing widespread conflict in the archipelago country. With oil palm cultivation set to double in Indonesia over the next 10 years, methods for understanding and mediating this conflict are becoming more critical. Currently, when conflicts between large-scale palm oil producers and local communities arise, communities typically lose out. “The legal system is of little use, and there are far too few NGOs on the ground to cope with all these conflicts,” said Ward Berenschot, a postdoctoral researcher at the Royal Netherlands Institute of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies. But a recent paper in Applied Geography is taking steps towards solving this problem. By mapping the way in which different types of land use conflicts correlate with varying environmental and social variables in Kalimantan, the Indonesian portion of Borneo island, the study aims to gain a better understanding of the causes of conflicts and the characteristics of impacted communities. 

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