Benefits and costs of oil palm expansion in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, under different policy scenarios

Elham Sumarga*, Lars Hein

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)


Deforestation and oil palm expansion in Central Kalimantan province are among the highest in Indonesia. This study examines the physical and monetary impacts of oil palm expansion in Central Kalimantan up to 2025 under three policy scenarios. Our modelling approach combines a spatial logistic regression model with a set of rules governing land use change as a function of the policy scenario. Our physical and monetary analyses include palm oil expansion and five other ecosystem services: timber, rattan, paddy rice, carbon sequestration, and orangutan habitat (the last service is analysed in physical units only). In monetary terms, our analysis comprises the contribution of land and ecosystems to economic production, as measured according to the valuation approach of the System of National Accounts. We focus our analysis on government-owned land which covers around 97 % of the province, where the main policy issues are. We show that, in the business-as-usual scenario, the societal costs of carbon emissions and the loss of other ecosystem services far exceed the benefits from increased oil palm production. This is, in particular, related to the conversion of peatlands. We also show that, for Central Kalimantan, the moratorium scenario, which is modelled based on the moratorium currently in place in Indonesia, generates important economic benefits compared to the business-as-usual scenario. In the moratorium scenario, however, there is still conversion of forest to plantation and associated loss of ecosystem services. We developed an alternative, sustainable production scenario based on an ecosystem services approach and show that this policy scenario leads to higher net social benefits including some more space for oil palm expansion.

Original languageEnglish
Article number16
Pages (from-to)1011-1021
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Central Kalimantan
  • Ecosystem services
  • Logistic regression
  • Moratorium
  • Oil palm expansion
  • Trade-off


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