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Evaluating the role of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas in reducing deforestation within Indonesian oil palm plantations

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Title:Evaluating the role of High Conservation Value (HCV) areas in reducing deforestation within Indonesian oil palm plantations
Authors:Smith, Charlotte Zoe
Contributors:Carlson, Kimberly (advisor)
Natural Resources and Environmental Management (department)
Keywords:Natural resource management
Environmental studies
quasi experimental methods
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO)
sustainability certification systems
show 1 moretropical commodity crop
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Date Issued:2020
Publisher:University of Hawai'i at Manoa
Abstract:In response to rapid tropical deforestation due to commodity crop expansion, corporationshave adopted environmental standards that require forest conservation within their landholdings.
In the oil palm sector, many companies rely on standards set by the Roundtable on Sustainable
Palm Oil (RSPO). The RSPO’s New Planting Procedure (NPP), instituted in 2010, requires that
RSPO members prepare for plantation development by identifying and protecting High
Conservation Value areas (HCVs), which contain biological, ecological and/or cultural values.
While HCVs are designed to protect biodiversity and ecosystem services, it remains unclear
whether such designation and management yields these intended outcomes. Thus, my research
aims to assess how HCV designation in the oil palm sector affects forest conservation.
Specifically, I address the following questions: 1) What factors influence the likelihood that a
location in an NPP property will be designated as an HCV area? 2) How does NPP participation
affect forest retention over time via designation and protection of HCVs? 3) How does NPP
participation affect overall deforestation rates in plantations? To answer these questions, I relied
on digitized maps of NPP properties and their HCVs, as well as non-RSPO plantations, across
three major oil palm growing regions in Indonesia. Within these areas, I derived annual 2001 to
2019 metrics of forest cover and deforestation. I then used several robust counterfactual
approaches to answer my questions. Findings suggest that HCV designation is more likely in
higher, steeper, more forested areas. Although areas designated as HCV continued to experience
deforestation over time, HCV designation leads to greater probability of forest survival
compared to similar non-HCV areas within non-RSPO properties. Overall, participation in the
RSPO NPP leads to a significant reduction in deforestation when compared to forest loss in
similar oil palm properties held by non-RSPO member companies. These results suggest that
while HCVs incur some forest loss, the New Planting Procedure has a positive benefit for forest
conservation in oil palm plantations that are undergoing active development.
Pages/Duration:38 pages
Rights:All UHM dissertations and theses are protected by copyright. They may be viewed from this source for any purpose, but reproduction or distribution in any format is prohibited without written permission from the copyright owner.
Appears in Collections: M.S. - Natural Resources and Environmental Management

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