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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
Name of conflict:PT Inti Indorayon Utama eucalyptus plantation conflict, Sumatra, Indonesia
State or province:Sumatra
Location of conflict:Villages 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:Plantation conflicts (incl. Pulp
Land acquisition conflicts
Specific commodities:Eucalyptus
Palm oil
Project Details and Actors
Project details

Project area:41,000
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:Some 300,000 people are thought to have been affected by the mill and the plantations that feed it.
Start of the conflict:1987
Company names or state enterprises:PT Inti Indorayon Utama (IIU) from Indonesia
Relevant government actors:Minister of Home Affairs
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Several NGOs, church organizations and university students groups were involved in the conflict over the pulpmill.
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityHIGH (widespread, mass mobilization, violence, arrests, etc...)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Indigenous groups or traditional communities
Batak people
Forms of mobilization:Street 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-economical 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
Conflict outcome / response:Corruption
Criminalization of activists
Court decision (failure for environmental justice)
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Very significant movement against industrial tree monocultures. Unfortunately little concrete successes.
Sources & Materials
References to published books, academic articles, movies or published documentaries

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
Contributor:J.-F. Gerber
Last update17/06/2014
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