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Sustainability In Indonesia´S Rainforest Essay

3143 words - 13 pages

The concept of ‘Just Sustainability’ incorporates not only environmental sustainability but also a need to strive towards social justice and equity. According to Agyeman sustainability is “the need to ensure a better quality of life for all, now and into the future, in a just and equitable manner, while living within the limits of supporting ecosystems.” (Agyeman et al. 2003 as cited in Agyeman 2005: 43) Both the desire for sustainability and development can be cause for many social justice and human equity issues, but in order to fulfil the idea of ‘Just Sustainability,’ all of these things need to be taken into account. (Agyeman 2005: 43) An example of how social justice and equity needs ...view middle of the document...

However, if conserved, tropical rainforests “could be one of humanity’s greatest renewable resources (Guppy 1984: 929).”

According to Lopez and Galinato, there are three primary causes to the deforestation in Indonesia. These are agricultural expansion, government promotion of the timber industry, and transmigration or forced government-sponsored resettlements of urban dwellers to rural forested areas (2005: 147). This essay aims to look at these three causes as the driving powers to deforestation in Indonesia, and address the concept of ‘Just Sustainability’ in relation to these factors. It will also look at the practices of resource management among indigenous Indonesians and the model of community forest management (Eghenter 2000: 344). All of these causes to deforestation have also had effects, both to the environment and to people. This principle is the same when reversed; anything that is done to work towards the sustainability of rainforest deforestation will have an inherent effect on people. This needs to be taken into full account when thinking about a long term sustainability plan for Indonesian rainforests. Deforestation has served to alleviate poverty and develop the country (World Growth 2011: 10). Unless social justice and equity are addressed alongside sustainability, there will be little, if any, support from the population most affected by new sustainability policy. Attitudes will have to change, as Smith states, there is a “lack of attention paid to social justice (both within and between nations) and the failure to conceive of nature beyond its value as a resource” (as cited in Agyeman 2005: 40).

The single most significant agricultural export and by far the most environmentally controversial, is Indonesia’s palm oil industry (World Growth 2011: 11). It employs approximately 6 million people in Indonesia, taking many out of poverty (World Growth 2011: 13), and for every dollar of profit that palm oil companies make, about three dollars is contributed to national income (Hunt 2010: 189). Also palm oil is more sustainable than any other crop based vegetable oils. “Palm oil production consumes considerably less energy, uses less land and generates more oil per hectare than any other oil seeds (World Growth 2011: 18).” However despite all this, palm oils contribution to deforestation has massive environmental implications.

Koh and Wilcove suggest that due to its rapid expansion into areas once covered with rainforest, “oil palm might well be the single most immediate threat to the greatest number of species (2008:68).” 70 percent of oil palm plantations are on land that was once rainforest, and this trend is likely to continue with plantation expansions of around 550,000 hectares a year (Hunt 2010: 188,189). This rapid expansion of the palm oil industry is largely due to a global effort to reduce fossil fuel use and find more carbon sustainable alternatives. However, it has been suggested that “replacing...

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