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A man loading a truck with bunches of palm oil fruit in Riau Province, Sumatra.

2023 Marks a Surge in Palm Oil Expansion in Indonesia

A man loading a truck with bunches of palm oil fruit in Riau Province, Sumatra.

In 2023, Indonesia saw an increase in deforestation caused by the expansion of intensively managed industrial monoculture palm oil plantations, following a record 21-year low in 2021 (White bars; Figure 1).

Industrial plantations grew by 116,000 hectares in 2023 (White and black bars; Figure 1), a 54% increase from the previous year. The associated deforestation increased by 36%, with 30,000 hectares of forest converted in 2023 compared to 22,000 hectares cleared in 2022.

Despite this increase, palm oil-driven deforestation remains significantly lower than in 2012, a year that witnessed the conversion of 227,000 hectares of forest to plantations.

Figure 1. Expansion of industrial oil palm plantations by year from 2001 to 2023 with emphasis on forest conversion. White bars represent the oil palm-driven deforestation or the areas of forest cleared and converted to plantations in the same year. The black bars represent areas of non-forest converted to oil palm. The sum of white and black bars represents the area of plantation added each year. Here, ‘Forest’ is old-growth, high carbon and high conservation value. ref to Gaveau et al. 2022 for methods and definitions.

There was a slight uptick in the area of peatlands converted to industrial palm oil, with a total of 10,787 hectares being converted in 2023, a 17% increase from the 9,180 hectares cleared in the preceding year.

Figure 2. Expansion of oil palm plantations by year from 2001 to 2023 with emphasis on peat conversion. White bars represent the conversion of peat. The black bars represent areas of non-peat, likely mineral soils, converted to oil palm. The sum of white and black bars represents the area of plantation added each year. The 2019 official peatland map from the Ministry of Agriculture was used.

When analyzed regionally, the increase in deforestation due to palm oil expansion (light bars; Figure 3) was most significant in Kalimantan and Papua, with a somewhat lesser rise observed in Sumatra.

Figure 3. Expansion of oil palm plantations by region and by year from 2001 to 2023 with emphasis on forest conversion. Y-axis represent areas (in 1000-ha, note different scales) of the total area of plantations added each year by rapidly clearing forests (light bars, below), or by using areas already cleared (dark bars, above).

The concession dataset developed by Greenpeace and compiled in Nusantara Atlas reveals that scores of companies still engage in deforestation and peat conversion for oil palm.

In 2023, 53 concessions cleared forest (>50 ha) for oil palm, and 20 exploited peatlands, despite efforts to prevent deforestation and peat conversion.

Similar to 2022, the company Ciliandry Anky Abadi led the way in forest clearing in 2023, clearing a total of 2,302 hectares across three distinct subsidiaries. This includes 1,702 hectares in the recently acquired Inti Kebun Sawit concession in West Papua, which was the top contributor to forest destruction for oil palm in both 2023 and 2022.

The “Chasing Shadows” article from The Gecko Project reveals that the Singapore-based First Resources, a major palm oil producer known for marketing its product as ‘sustainable’ and RSPO-certified, is covertly linked to Ciliandry Anky Abadi and Sulaidy. These companies are also implicated in the conversion of forests and peatlands into industrial oil palm plantations in 2023.

First Resources and its affiliated ‘shadow companies’ were responsible for clearing 3,285 hectares of forest in 2023.

Satellite animation revealing clearing of primary forest in preparation for oil palm in Concession Inti Kebun Sawit, Papua Barat. Created using Planet/nicfi images. Processed in Nusantara Atlas.

The Gecko Project investigation revealed that First Resources utilized “shadow companies” to circumvent sustainability standards while still presenting an image of environmental accountability. Despite a complaint lodged against them in 2021 with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), the RSPO has not addressed the issue with the seriousness it merits. Consequently, First Resources remains a member of the RSPO to this day.

Among other prominent contributors to forest destruction, Alam Indah Sdn Bhd/Meadows Capital Ltd stands out, having cleared 1,294 hectares of forest, including areas of peatland in its Lahan Agro Inti Ketapang Concession in West Kalimantan. This entity is a registered company based in Malaysia.

Satellite animation revealing clearing of primary forest in preparation for oil palm in Concession Lahan Agro Inti Ketapang, West Kalimantan. Created using Planet/nicfi images. Processed in Nusantara Atlas.

Tables 1 and 2 present a comprehensive list of companies involved in converting forests and peatlands into industrial oil palm plantations in 2023. Each of these companies is catalogued in the Nusantara Atlas, where users can view satellite animations to independently verify the changes. Additionally, there is a brief instructional video at the end of this document that guides users on how to create time-lapse visualizations for each listed company.

Table 1. List of companies converting forest to industrial monoculture oil palm in 2023. This table only shows conversion >50 ha.

NoCompany NameGroupConcession area (Ha)ProvincePalm-oil Deforestation (Ha)
1Inti Kebun SawitCiliandry Anky Abadi/First Resources13.344West Papua1.702
2Lahan Agro Inti KetapangAlam Indah Sdn Bhd/Meadows Capital Ltd12.472West Kalimantan1.294
3Borneo International AnugerahFirst Borneo20.016West Kalimantan930
4Subur Karunia RayaSalim/IndoGunta38.600West Papua737
5Sumber Rahmat SentosaOther/unknown6.477Central Kalimantan703
6Permata Sawit MandiriSepanjang16.770West Kalimantan685
7Sepalar Yasa KartikaOther/unknown14.960Central Kalimantan547
8Prasetya Mitra Muda (Block I)Other/unknown7.493Central Kalimantan479
9Khatulistiwa Agro AbadiFirst Borneo16.868West Kalimantan384
10Alam Sari LestariOther/unknown12.446Riau384
11Kaltim Hijau MakmurCT Agro15.157East Kalimantan368
12Citra Palma PertiwiSulaidy/First Resources7.877East Kalimantan351
13Tridaya Hutan LestariCiliandry Anky Abadi/First Resources9.588East Kalimantan326
14Borneo Citra Persada JayaSulaidy/First Resources17.927East Kalimantan287
15Inti Kebun SejahteraCiliandry Anky Abadi/First Resources21.885West Papua274
16Mitra Kapuas AgroFirst Borneo7.229West Kalimantan240
17Palm Beach IndonesiaOther/unknown14.419West Kalimantan197
18Krida Darma KahuripanMakin13.508Central Kalimantan187
19Mitra Sawit MakmurOther/unknown7.119East Kalimantan181
20Usaha Sawit UnggulAsian Agri/RGE6.769North Sumatra174
21Banyan Tumbuh LestariBuana Pratama Cipta18.720Gorontalo155
22Arjuna Utama SawitOther/unknown15.651Central Kalimantan137
23Berkah Sawit AbadiFirst Borneo34.000West Kalimantan123
24Citra Permata SerundungOther/unknown8.174West Kalimantan120
25Cipta Usaha SejatiPasifik Agro Sentosa18.039West Kalimantan118
26Nabire BaruGoodhope17.612Papua114
27Bangun Batara RayaDTK Opportunity2.578Central Kalimantan113
28Menthobi Mitra Lestari (PT Menthobi Sawit)Bakrie10.691Central Kalimantan112
29Borneo Citra Persada MandiriSulaidy/First Resources11.899East Kalimantan108
30Indokarya Gema SaktiOther/unknown4.192East Kalimantan104
31Kalimantan Hamparan SawitAbdi Budi Mulia12.034Central Kalimantan104
32Kurun Sumber RejekiOther/unknown9.481Central Kalimantan102
33Palmdale Agroasia MakmurGozco Plantations16.983West Kalimantan99
34Wana Catur Jaya UtamaRajawali/Eagle High11.387Central Kalimantan97
35Sandai Makmur SawitOther/unknown10.084West Kalimantan92
36Swadaya Mukti PrakarsaFangiono Family/First Resources21.116West Kalimantan92
37Kartika Nugraha SaktiBengalon Jaya Lestari14.422North Kalimantan83
38Tekukur IndahKuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK)2.906East Kalimantan80
39Karya Tama Bakti MulyaFangiono Family/First Resources6.658Riau79
40Watu Gede UtamaUnknown6.015Aceh77
41Kalimantan Agro MakmurUnknown5.967East Kalimantan70
42Gumas Alam SuburJhonlin10.462Central Kalimantan67
43Gerbang BenuarayaAbdi Budi Mulia20.604West Kalimantan67
44Brahma Bina BaktiRachmat/Triputra12.998Jambi66
45Borneo Citra Persada AbadiSulaidy/First Resources14.303East Kalimantan66
46Tantahan Panduhup AsiSTA11.083Central Kalimantan65
47Teladan Palma PerkasaUnknown4.014East Kalimantan60
48Senabangun Aneka PertiwiUnknown18.709East Kalimantan58
49Bina Sarana Sawit UtamaSamuel26.340Central Kalimantan56
50Permata Hijau SaranaUnknown13.664West Kalimantan55
51Sawit Desa MakmurUnknown13.571Jambi55
52Ruta Jona LestariUnknown20.729Central Kalimantan55
53Permata Nusa MandiriSalim/IndoGunta17.396Papua53
54Katingan Hijau LestariUnknown9.526Central Kalimantan52

Table 2. List of companies converting peatlands to industrial monoculture oil palm in 2022. This table only shows conversion >50 ha.

NoCompany NameGroupConcession (Ha)LocationClearing on peat (Ha) 
1Samora Usaha JayaSungai Budi/Tunas Baru Lampung40.073South Sumatra1.110
2Borneo International AnugerahFirst Borneo20.016West Kalimantan999
3Alam Sari LestariUnknown12.446Riau671
4Lahan Agro Inti KetapangAlam Indah Sdn Bhd/Meadows Capital Ltd12.472West Kalimantan596
5Gading Cempaka GrahaUnknown5.385South Sumatra584
6Arjuna Utama SawitUnknown15.651Central Kalimantan335
7Gerbang BenuarayaAbdi Budi Mulia20.604West Kalimantan191
8Palm Beach IndonesiaUnknown14.419West Kalimantan189
10Borneo Sawit PerdanaUnknown10.814Central Kalimantan136
11Palmdale Agroasia MakmurGozco Plantations16.983West Kalimantan133
12Kartika Nugraha SaktiBengalon Jaya Lestari14.422North Kalimantan124
13Tani Swadaya PerdanaUnknown4.270Riau116
14Sumber Sawit SejahteraUnknown2.891Riau113
15Wana Subur Sawit IndahUnknown5.699Riau83
16Menteng Kencana MasCitra Borneo Indah19.876Central Kalimantan77
17Sinar Dinamika KapuasLyman58.018West Kalimantan71
18Pinang Witmas AbadiPinang Witmas Sejati10.548West Kalimantan55
19Berkat Nabati SejahteraIOI Corporation17.335West Kalimantan49
20Mitrakarya AgroindoSinar Mas (GAR)22.929Central Kalimantan46

Creating satellite time-lapse animations on Nusantara Atlas for companies listed in the tables above

TheTreeMap endeavours to protect tropical forests through scientific research and advanced monitoring platforms. We are cartographers, remote sensing engineers, software developers, and field investigators.  We empower civil society with the tools to detect deforestation in real-time and ensure what happens on the ground is fair, transparent, and democratic. We build systems that check the deforestation footprint of agribusinesses in tropical forests to ensure sustainable production. Our work is based on the premise that no one wants food and other products to be the cause of forest destruction.


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