Oil palm is today the fastest growing monoculture in the tropics. Indonesia is the world's largest producer. The country has witnessed a massive conversion of customary (adat) land to oil palm (and fast-wood) plantations. Between 1967 and 2007, oil palm monocultures have increased about 50 times and the government is planning to expand the area under plantation.See more...
During the 1980s in the present case, Dayak lands were logged against their wishes by a logging concessionnaire. Further forest destruction on village lands was caused by a state-owned company between 1998 and 2000 and after 2001 by a Malaysian sawmill. In 2002, PT Agung Multi Perkasa obtained permits to develop an oil palm plantation in the area. According to the community, the company had not planted any oil palm after two years of operations, and instead continued to illegally log customary forests and sell the timber across the Malaysian border. In 2004, the company’s permit was suspended since no planting had taken place, and initial permits for a 20 000 ha plantation were handed to Duta Palma through its subsidiary PT LL. In 2005, heavy machinery was brought to the area. No meetings were held with the community to discuss the company’s plans. Community rubber plantations were destroyed by the company’s during road-building activities. The community protested and fined the company under customary law. PT LL did not pay the fine and the community responded by seizing a company motorbike and protesting to the local police. PT LL began to clear secondary and primary forest (protected by the community for generations to ensure the irrigation of their rice fields, rubber plantations, and other cash crops), and sacred forests. Despite repeated community complaints in meetings with the company and authorities, the company continued to clear up to 9000 ha of community forest, apparently without a forest conversion license. In fact, it appears that Duta Palma began operations without all four of Indonesia’s key land use and land use change permits: the IPK (for land clearing), the PHK (for forest use), the AMDAL (an environmental impact statement), and an HGU (the palm plantation operation license).
The community seized a Komatsu excavator and six Stihl chainsaws in an attempt to stop the forest clearance, and invited the company manager to come and discuss the situation. Instead, the police allegedly threatened villagers that they could disappear in the middle of the night as in the anti-communist era. Two villagers were detained by the police. In 2006, the villagers issued a declaration which stated “the Semunying Jaya community call upon you to respect the sovereignty of our land, the protection of our water and forest resources as we inform you that we still refuse any oil palm plantation in our area, in whatever from or shape it may be”. Despite ongoing protests and interventions, the Semunying Jaya forests were once more being cleared by PT LL in 2007. Less than 8,000 ha remain of the original 18,000 ha of the community's sacred rainforest (as reported by Rainforest Action Network in 2009 ).
Duta Palma was also a member of the The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) since 2007 that upholds them to strict corporate social responsibility policies. In a complaint ﬁled with the RSPO in July of 2009, a broad network of Indonesian NGOs presented the case that Duta Palma routinely violates RSPO membership criteria but no action has been reported. In 2013, it was reported  that RSPO had evicted Indonesian palm oil giant Dutapalma Nusantara for violating key principles for sustainability: converting deep peat for a plantation, clearing forest without a high conservation value (HCV) assessment, and using fire to open land.