PT Inti Indorayon Utama eucalyptus plantation conflict, Sumatra, Indonesia


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.

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Basic Data
NamePT Inti Indorayon Utama eucalyptus plantation conflict, Sumatra, Indonesia
SiteVillages of Sugapa and of Gonting Silogomon, Lake Toba region, North province
Accuracy of LocationHIGH local 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 CommoditiesAcacia
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project Area (in hectares)41,000
Type of PopulationRural
Potential Affected PopulationSome 300,000 people are thought to have been affected by the mill and the plantations that feed it.
Start Date1987
Company Names or State EnterprisesPT Inti Indorayon Utama (IIU) from Indonesia
Relevant government actorsMinister of Home Affairs
Environmental justice organisations and other supportersSeveral NGOs, church organizations and university students groups were involved in the conflict over the pulpmill.
The Conflict and the Mobilization
Intensity of Conflict (at highest level)HIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
When did the mobilization beginIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups MobilizingFarmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Batak people
Forms of MobilizationStreet protest/marches
Property damage/arson
Protesters ripped up thousands of eucalyptus seedlings planted on customary land.
Environmental ImpactsPotential: Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover
Socio-economic ImpactsVisible: Loss of traditional knowledge/practices/cultures, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Land dispossession
Potential: Loss of livelihood
Project StatusIn operation
Pathways for conflict outcome / responseCorruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this as a success?Not Sure
Why? Explain briefly.Very significant movement against industrial tree monocultures. Unfortunately little concrete successes.
Sources and Materials

Human Rights Watch (HRW), 2003. Without remedy: human rights abuse and Indonesia’s pulp and paper industry. New York: HRW.
[click to view]

Down to Earth (DtE), 1999. Violence escalates at Indorayon pulp plant. Newsletter, 41.
[click to view]

Carrere, R., and L. Lohmann, 1996. Pulping the South: industrial tree plantations and the global paper economy. London: Zed Books.

Meta Information
ContributorJ.-F. Gerber
Last update17/06/2014