The disciplining of illegal palm oil plantations in Sumatra

Eusebius Pantja Pramudya*, Otto Hospes, C.J.A.M. Termeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


The Indonesian state has issued many regulations to control palm oil expansion, but they have been weakly enforced, resulting in widespread illegal plantations. During the last decade, Indonesian authorities have used force to reduce illegal plantations. This article analyses the drivers behind these actions and questions to what extent they reflect the rise of eco-authoritarianism. By investigating six cases of disciplinary action in Sumatra, we conclude that the Indonesian state is neither practising eco-authoritarianism nor constituting a green state. The disciplinary action, however, has had limited success in environmental terms due to policy incoherence, violent contestation and the sector’s historical context.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)920-940
JournalThird World Quarterly
Issue number5
Early online date28 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - May 2018


  • authoritarian environmentalism
  • Indonesia
  • Law enforcement
  • palm oil expansion

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