University of Twente Student Theses


Spatial Designs for Sustainable Oil Palm Expansion in Riau Province – Indonesia

Asiimwe, Susan (2010) Spatial Designs for Sustainable Oil Palm Expansion in Riau Province – Indonesia.

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Abstract:The increasing unsustainable expansion of oil palm has drawn much attention globally. Although the main actors in the oil palm sector have recognized the importance of managing oil palm plantations sustainably, there is still much to be done. Comprehensive studies and realistic plans for accommodating projected expansion, investing wisely in further expansion and protecting sensitive land from invasion by new oil palm plantations is needed. To support the decision makers in solving this problem, critical studies like this and high-quality data sets are required. Riau province, compared to other provinces in Indonesia, has the highest number of oil palm plantations. This has led to undesired expansion of oil palm into areas that are not suitable or which are very important for conservation. Proper spatial planning of land use is likely the key strategy in reducing the pressure on land. This study actually targeted national and local governments who are responsible for spatial planning. Producers and NGOs are not and do not have decision power. They can only lobby and try to convince the government of their point of view. It is against this background that this study aimed at supporting the government. In this study I assessed the opinions of oil palm stakeholders on where expansion would be possible in the most environmentally sustainable way. The main aim of this research was to develop a scientifically sound decision support tool for determining suitable land for sustainable oil palm expansion, based on the views of oil palm stakeholders. The general approach of the study involved the integration of GIS and spatial multi criteria evaluation techniques. First, a general survey was carried out to identify the relevant criteria for oil palm site selection, value functions developed for each criterion, and then suitability maps created for each vision. Later, all suitability maps created for each vision were aggregated with the land cover map with potential land units for oil palm conversion (grassland, cleared areas, burnt areas, acacia and rubber plantations etc). Finally, I analyzed suitability values and ranked areas based on these values. A decision support tool was developed which can be updated anytime new data is availed. This tool enables transparent communication between oil palm stakeholders on which areas can potentially be used for further oil palm expansion. Available spatial data were used to produce suitability maps for each stakeholder group using spatial multi criteria evaluation within the ILWIS software. Standardization and weighting of relevant criteria, was based on information from interviewed stakeholders and on expert views. Alternative sites were then defined and assessed for the final result. The results showed how stakeholder opinions on environmental criteria can be translated into spatial data layers on land suitability for oil palm. This will facilitate communication between stakeholders because it is a transparent and objective way of developing expansion scenarios. However, these results do not reflect a final ranking of areas based on suitability. Further updating and improving of the spatial data layers is necessary before this spatial decision support tool can be used. Positional accuracy and unavailability of data could contribute to the accuracy of the results. Recommendation for further research is given in order to develop an effective decision support system for sustainable oil palm site selection in Riau province. Key words: Oil palm, spatial planning, value functions, stakeholders, suitability, ranking, Riau.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:ITC: Faculty of Geo-information Science and Earth Observation
Programme:Geoinformation Science and Earth Observation MSc (75014)
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