Mitigation of unwanted direct and indirect land-use change – an integrated approach illustrated for palm oil, pulpwood, rubber and rice production in North and East Kalimantan, Indonesia

The widespread production of cash crops can result in the decline of forests, peatlands, rice fields and local community land. Such unwanted land-use and land-cover (LULC) change can lead to decreased carbon stocks, diminished biodiversity, displaced communities and reduced local food production. In this study, we analysed to what extent four main commodities, namely, palm oil, pulpwood, rice and rubber, can be produced in North and East Kalimantan in Indonesia without such unwanted LULC change. We investigated the technical potential of four measures to mitigate unwanted LULC change between 2008 and 2020 under low, medium and high scenarios, referring to the intensities of the mitigation measures compared with those implemented in 2008. These measures are related to land sparing through (i) the improvements of yields, (ii) chain efficiencies, (iii) chain integration and (iv) the steering of any expansion of these commodities to suitable and available underutilised (potentially degraded) lands. Our analyses resulted in a land-sparing potential of 0.4–1.2 Mha (i.e. 24–62% of the total land demand of the commodities) between 2008 and 2020, depending on the land-use projection of the four commodities and the scenario for implementing the mitigation measures. Additional expansion on underutilised land is the most important mitigation measure (45–62% of the total potential), followed by yield improvements as the second most important mitigation measure (32–46% of the total potential). Our study shows that reconciling the production of palm oil, pulpwood, rice and rubber with the maintenance of existing agricultural lands, forests and peatlands is technically possible only (i) under a scenario of limited agricultural expansion, (ii) if responsible land zoning is applied and enforced and (iii) if the yields and chain efficiencies are strongly improved.
  • Authors: Van, der, Laan, C., Wicke, B., Verweij, P.A., Faaij, A.P.C.
  • Author Affiliation: Utrecht University, University of Groningen
  • Subjects: land use change, mitigation, peatlands, oil palms, pulpwood, rubber, crop production, rice
  • Publication type: Journal Article
  • Source: GCB Bioenergy 9(2): 429-444
  • Year: 2017
  • DOI:
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