Indonesia to Return 200,000 Hectares of Palm Oil Plantations to Forests
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Indonesia, the world’s largest palm oil producer, will return 200,000 hectares of palm oil plantations found in protected areas to the state to be converted back into forests. This is part of the government’s efforts to mitigate climate change and improve governance in the palm oil industry.
The government has identified 1.67 million hectares of palm oil plantations in forests, forestry ministry secretary general Bambang Hendroyono said. The government is still cataloguing which of those are found in designated production forests, meaning owners will have to pay fines but they can continue to grow palm trees, and which are in protected areas and must be returned to the state, he said.
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He gave an estimate that about 200,000 hectares will be returned, adding the figure may increase. “The ones in protected forests and conservation forests, the government wants to restore after they pay the fine,” Bambang said, adding this will be part of the government’s efforts to mitigate climate change.
Indonesia’s chief security minister Mahfud MD has threatened legal action against palm oil companies that use land illegally after the November 2 deadline to submit paperwork and pay fines passes.