Podcast: Sumatra’s deforestation demystified

  • Sumatra contains some of the largest tracts of intact rainforest left in the world, which are relied upon by Indigenous and local peoples plus a massive diversity of wildlife found nowhere else.
  • These vast forests are under threat from the rapid expansion of industrial-scale agribusinesses that market both palm oil and pulp and paper products to the global market.
  • To understand the causes of the threat better, this episode of the podcast interviews Nur Hidayati, director of top Indonesian environmental group Walhi, and Mongabay editor Philip Jacobson.
  • They share that while there are some signs of progress, corruption and a lack of corporate transparency must be dealt with, and alternatives to the production of commodities like palm oil should be pursued.

Sumatra contains some of the largest tracts of intact rainforest left in the world, and is also at the center of a complicated web of deforestation drivers, many of which began during the Dutch colonial era and are now spurred further by corruption and the global demand for cheap vegetable oil used in a wide range of consumer products.

To understand the rapid expansion of industrial-scale agribusinesses that market both palm oil and pulp and paper to the global market from this, the largest island in the Indonesian Archipelago, podcast host Mike DiGirolamo speaks with Nur “Yaya” Hidayati and Philip Jacobson.

Hidayati is the national executive director of Walhi, the largest and oldest environmental advocacy NGO in Indonesia. Jacobson is a contributing editor at Mongabay who has been covering Indonesia for nearly six years. They discuss what drives deforestation in Sumatra in particular and Indonesia in general, why it’s so difficult to control, what exacerbates efforts to stop it, and what can be done globally and locally to slow or stop the expansion of continued land exploitation.

Listen here:

While there are some signs of progress, they point out that corruption and a lack of corporate transparency must be dealt with, and alternatives to commodities should be pursued. But if the right measures are taken, such as new trade agreement measures, stricter local legislation, and a focus on eradicating corruption, Sumatra’s vast rainforests – and the incredibly diverse wildlife that depends on them – can be protected from escalating harm.

Smoke rising from smoldering peatland in PT Raja Garuda Mas Sejati. Image © Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace Media Library.

Mongabay Explores is a special podcast series that speaks with experts from the field working to protect the critically threatened forests and wildlife of Sumatra. It is published bi-weekly opposite the main podcast, and dives into the unique beauty and key issues of this one of a kind landscape by speaking with key people working to protect it. Episode 1, where we speak with a Goldman Prize winner from Sumatra, Rudi Putra, can be heard here.

One can subscribe to the Mongabay Newscast on Androidthe Google Podcasts appApple PodcastsStitcherTuneInRSSCastboxPocket Casts, via Pandora or Spotify, or the podcast provider of your choice. You can also listen to all of our episodes via the podcast homepage, here.

We also offer a free app in the Apple App Store and in the Google Store for this show, download it for instant access to our latest episodes at your fingertips.

If you enjoy this podcast, please tell a friend, and consider visiting www.patreon.com/mongabay to pledge a dollar or more to keep the show growing, Mongabay is a nonproft media outlet and all support helps. Supporting the show at the $10/month level now delivers access to Insider Content, please visit Patreon via the link above for details.

Listen to the previous Mongabay Explores series about a looming salamander pandemic in North America here, here, and here.

Trucks loaded with oil palm fruits drive through haze in Rokan Hilir Regency. Image © Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace Media Library.

Banner image: Large-scale clearance of peatland forest inside a PT. Riau Andalan Pulp & Paper (PT RAPP) pulpwood concession on Pulau Padang, Bengkalis Regency, Riau Province. PT RAPP is a subsidiary of APRIL, the pulp & paper division of the RGE Group. Image © Ulet Ifansasti/Greenpeace Media Library.

This story first appeared on Mongabay

South Africa Today – Environment


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