How Indonesia’s election puts global biodiversity at stake with an impending war on palm oil

| April 16, 2019 | Leave a Comment

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Media Type: Article - Recent

Date of Publication: April 16, 2019

Author(s): Bill Laurance, Penny van Oosterzee

Newspaper: The Conversation

Categories: , ,

This week, Indonesia will hold a presidential election that will make or break incumbent Joko “Jokowi” Widodo’s chances of getting a second term in a rematch with his nemesis, Prabowo Subianto.

Jokowi’s re-election may put global biodiversity at risk as he is threatening to renege on a national moratorium he declared on new palm-oil plantations — which could quickly escalate deforestation in Papua, Borneo, Sumatra, and beyond.

Almost overnight, Jokowi has transformed from an environmental good-guy — someone who’s battled destructive wildfires and noxious haze, tried to slow palm oil expansion and promoted several other eco-smart measures — into a nationalistic mouthpiece for the oil palm industry.

Let’s hope this ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ transformation of Jokowi is temporary — a kind of fleeting election madness that overtakes many politicians in the heat of battle.

If not, Indonesia’s forests and the endangered species living in them will be at even more risk.

Read the full article here. 

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