Deforestation monitoring in Papua

Papua, Indonesia




According to Greenpeace, the 25 producers featured in the Greenpeace Final Countdown report are known to have destroyed more than 130,000 ha of forest and peatland since 2015, an area almost twice the size of Singapore – and that is almost certainly an underestimate of the full scale of devastation, because the total size of their collective landbank is unknown. 40% of this destruction – 56,000ha – took place in Indonesian Papua, the newest front in the palm oil industry’s war against the environment.
David Gaveau of CIFOR1 is leading a study, using data from the University of Maryland, which showed the Papua region had lost 6,000 square kilometers (2,300 square miles) of forest between 2000 and 2017, an area double the size of Yosemite National Park. The rate of deforestation has accelerated in recent years, hitting highs of 980 and 850 square kilometers (380 and 330 square miles) respectively in 2015 and 2016. Rates of deforestation dramatically dropped in 2017, which Gaveau doesn’t yet have an explanation for, but which he expects will be revealed with his team’s development of a ‘Papua Atlas’.
With the companies investing and the NGOs ranged on either side of the issue, there is a glaring need for a balanced interpretation of the situation taking into account the perspectives of all impacted stakeholders.
The monitoring project is framed to understand the drivers of past, present and future deforestation and support an outcome that balances forest protection with the rights of people with fair claim over the lands. It is targeting agribusiness crops in general, with a particular focus on oil palm.
The monitoring project aims at generating data on locations where deforestation has occurred recently, including  information relating to companies operation or those of nearby smallholders and communities. The key objective of this monitoring project is to provide regular first-hand information on deforestation processes and pattern, from a community point of view, in order to encourage companies to improve their practices to meet both FPIC and NDPE goals gradually.


Project proposals that address the following questions are considered:

  • Who is clearing natural forests? Where, how and why are they clearing natural forests? 

E.g. logging companies, plantation corporations, smallholders, hand tools, tractors, for oil palm plantation and profit,
to grow food for family

  • Are there local / IPs communities whom are affected by this natural forest clearing, how? Where they fully consulted and invited to give consent (FPIC)? Do they feel they have benefited from the arrival of the timber and palm oil companies?

E.g. indigenous, settlers, migrants, loss of homes and relocation, access to sustenance

  • What might happen in the future? Are there plans for development, what are they and by whom?

E.g. sale of logs, produce oil palm for global brand, property development, indigenous village

*Monitoring area presented on the map in the PDF*


Deforestation drivers


Papua, Indonesia


Open for funding