Oil palm plantation conflicts in Bangka-Belitung, Indonesia

The two main islands of Sumatra, Bangka and Belitung are covered by palm oil plantations. 70% of their forest have been replaced. Communities protest against land conflicts, water contamination and deforestation caused by the plantations.


The Bangka Belitung Province is made up around 470 islands off the coast of Sumatra, out of which around 50 are inhabited. The two main islands Bangka and Belitung measure 1.6 million ha in total, out of which 230.000 ha are covered by palm oil plantations. Over the period 2000-2012, the province experienced one of the highest deforestation rates in the country [2].  

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Basic Data
NameOil palm plantation conflicts in Bangka-Belitung, Indonesia
ProvinceBangka-Belitung Islands
Site Kembiri and Puding
Accuracy of LocationMEDIUM regional level
Source of Conflict
Type of Conflict (1st level)Biomass and Land Conflicts (Forests, Agriculture, Fisheries and Livestock Management)
Type of Conflict (2nd level)Land acquisition conflicts
Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Specific CommoditiesLand
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Details230,000 Hectares of oil palm plantation
Project Area (in hectares)230,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected Population1,372,813 (total province population)
Start Date2012
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Swarna Nusa Sentosa (SNS) from Indonesia
PT Tata Hamparan Eka Persada (THEP) from Indonesia
PT Sawindo Kencana from Indonesia
PT Foresta Lestari Dwikarya (FLD) from Indonesia
Relevant government actorsLocal government

National government

District Environmental Offices
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersWALHI [https://walhi.or.id]

Gerakan Masyarakat Peduli Lingkungan (Gempa)

The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)MEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
International ejos
Local ejos
Fisher people
Forms of MobilizationDevelopment of a network/collective action
Involvement of national and international NGOs
Official complaint letters and petitions
Street protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Fires, Floods (river, coastal, mudflow), Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Soil erosion, Waste overflow, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality, Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Large-scale disturbance of hydro and geological systems
OtherThe Belitung Island tarsier has been classified as Endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), “due to a severe restriction of its geographic range on Belitung Island". (1)
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Increase in violence and crime, Loss of livelihood, Militarization and increased police presence, Land dispossession
Potential: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors, Displacement, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Under negotiation
Project temporarily suspended
Development of AlternativesApplication of existing regulations related to environmental and land issues
Do you consider this as a success?No
Why? Explain briefly.There are currently many on-going conflicts in the district, as well as many that are temporarily stopped and under negotiation. It is therefore difficult to say whether environmental justice can be said to have been survived.
Sources and Materials

[4] Yustian, I. (2007). Ecology and Conservation Status of Tarsius Bancanus Saltator on Belitung Island, Indonesia. Göttingen: Cuvillier Verlag.


[8] Bangka Pos, 2016. Warga Pertanyakan HGU PT Sawindo Kencana
[click to view]

[9] Bangka Pos, 2016. Warga Protes Hutan Desa Dijual Untuk Kebun Sawit Perusahaan
[click to view]

[12] Bangka Pos, 2016. Video: Warga Protes PT THEP Buka Lahan Sawit
[click to view]

Climate Data Explorer Bangka-Belitung
[click to view]

[5] Pos Belitung, 2016. Tuntut Ganti Rugi Akibat Limbah Sawit, Warga Kembiri Kembali Datangi DPRD Belitung.
[click to view]

Bangka Pos, 2011. Walhi Babel: 2011 Ada 13 Konflik Lahan Sawit.
[click to view]

[10] Bangka Pos, 2016. Warga Pugul Protes PT THEP Buka Lahan Kebun Sawit
[click to view]

[1] Mongabay 2014. Tin mining, oil palm plantations wreaking havoc on small Indonesian island
[click to view]

[3] Bangka-Belitung Site Reclamation Plan: Final Conceptual Design Report
[click to view]

[2] WALHI, 2014. Grim Portraits of Bangka Belitung Tin Mining: Demanding global, national and local responsibility to restore Bangka Belitung islands following negative tin mining impacts
[click to view]

[7] Bangka Pos, 2017. Warga Desa Keluhkan Limbah Sawit PT THEP Dibuang Ke Sungai Telang
[click to view]

[6] Bangka Pos, 2016. Personel Gabungan Amankan Aksi Massa Pendemo
[click to view]

[11] Bangka Pos, 2015. Warga Tolak Perluasan Perkebunan Sawit di Kota Kapur dan Penagan
[click to view]

Other Documents

Source: Global Forest Watch. https://news.mongabay.com/2014/08/tin-mining-palm-oil-plantations-wreaking-havoc-on-small-indonesian-island/ Belitung Island lost approximately 88,000 hectares of forest from 2001-2013
[click to view]

Source: AFP http://www.businesstimes.com.sg/energy-commodities/drones-target-tax-cheats-in-indonesias-palm-oil-plantations the vast forests of oil-palm and rubber trees in Sumatra and the scattered tin mines on islands to its east, the Indonesian government is flying unmanned aircraft to catch cheats who under report the size of their plantations or the extent of their mineral extraction.
[click to view]

Meta Information
ContributorEmmy Iwarsson (ICTA-UAB)
Last update07/03/2018