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Assessing and addressing the impact of large-scale land acquisitions on ape conservation: Borneo case study

Indonesia and Malaysia are currently the only two countries with wild orangutan populations. These two countries are also the world’s two leading palm oil producers. While revenue from oil palm can provide economic benefits at national and local levels, the oil palm sector has been underpinned by poor land allocation procedures and corruption, which has had a negative impact on species such as orangutan and biodiversity more generally.

Despite the orangutan being fully protected under Indonesian and Malaysian law, no law prevents the destruction or degradation of orangutan habitat in either country. Unless both nations implement progressive solutions to improve land use allocation for oil palm, curb forest conversion and protect habitats, the viability of this critically-endangered species will be tenuous at best.

This report provides a summary of the geographical overlap between Bornean orangutan habitat and areas demarcated for large-scale oil palm developments, as well as the extent to which orangutan habitat and known populations lie within existing protected areas in Kalimantan (the Indonesian portion of Borneo) and Sarawak and Sabah (which belong to Malaysia).

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Abram NK, Nakano SK, Lusiana S and Faselt J (2017) Assessing and addressing the impact of large-scale land acquisitions on ape conservation: Borneo case study. Ridge to Reef, Living Landscape Alliance, Borneo Futures, Hutan, and Land Empowerment Animals People, Kota Kinabalu.

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Recent years have witnessed a new wave of large scale acquisitions for agribusiness investments in Africa and Asia. Countries that house a large proportion of the world's biodiversity and ape habitats and populations have lost areas of high biodiversity land to commercial agriculture. Despite much effort at local, national and global levels, evidence on the exact scale, location and coverage of agribusiness investments remains patchy and often unreliable.

More at www.iied.org:
Addressing the interplay between agribusiness investments and ape conservation

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