Environment, Development and Sustainability

, Volume 16, Issue 6, pp 1177–1196 | Cite as

Oil palm plantation investments in Indonesia’s forest frontiers: limited economic multipliers and uncertain benefits for local communities



This paper examines the implications of oil palm estate development in Indonesia’s frontier province of Papua. Government planners believe that oil palm investment will develop the local economy, create jobs and reduce poverty. Using the input–output approach, we find that, in aggregate terms, oil palm investments boost the economic output in the province, generate jobs and increase worker salaries. However, the oil palm subsector operates in isolation and has limited economic multipliers. The number of jobs is potentially large, but those best positioned to benefit from them are mostly skilled migrants, not local poor. The government should reduce the size of plantation investments and plan their implementation as part of a broader development package to allow greater economic integration and skill acquisition by local communities. The priority areas for plantation development should be degraded, non-forest land.


Oil palm Frontier Economy Poverty Papua Indonesia 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Krystof Obidzinski
    • 1
  • Ahmad Dermawan
    • 1
  • Adi Hadianto
    • 2
  1. 1.Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)BogorIndonesia
  2. 2.Faculty of Economics and ManagementBogor Agricultural UniversityBogorIndonesia

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