Palm oil is a promising source of cooking oil and biodiesel. The demand for palm oil has been increasing worldwide. However, concerns exist surrounding the environmental and socio-economic sustainability of palm oil production. Indonesia is a major palm oil producing country. We explored scenarios for palm oil production in Indonesia until 2050, focusing on Sumatra, Kalimantan and Papua. Our scenarios describe possible trends in crude palm oil production in Indonesia, while considering the demand for cooking oil and biodiesel, the available land for plantations, production capacity (for crude palm oil and fresh fruit bunches) and environmentally restricting conditions. We first assessed past developments in palm oil production. Next, we analysed scenarios for the future. In the past 20 years, 95% of the Indonesian oil palm production area was in Sumatra and Kalimantan and was increasingly cultivated in peatlands. Our scenarios for the future indicate that Indonesia can meet a considerable part of the global and Asian demand for palm oil, while avoiding further cultivation of peatlands and forest. By 2050, 264-447 Mt crude palm oil may be needed for cooking oil and biodiesel worldwide. In Indonesia, the area that is potentially suitable for oil palm is 17 to 26 Mha with a potential production rate of 27-38 t fresh fruit bunches/ha, yielding 130-176 Mt crude palm oil. Thus Indonesia can meet 39-60% of the international demand. In our scenarios this would be produced in Sumatra (21-26%), Kalimantan (12-16%), and Papua (2%). The potential areas include the current oil palm plantation in mineral lands, but exclude the current oil palm plantations in peatlands.
- Avoiding further peat cultivation
- Crude palm oil
- No further deforestation