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Up For Grabs: Deforestation And Exploitation In Papua’s Plantations Boom

Massive Land Grab for Plantations in Papua Threatens Vital Forests and Exploits Local Communities

A new report by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Telapak – entitled “Up for Grabs” – exposes how five million hectares of land, most of it forested, is being targeted in Papua by powerful companies seeking to cash in on projected demand for biofuels, derived from crops such as oil palm, and other commodities. This land grab is provoking conflicts with local communities and threatens the third largest area of remaining tropical forests on Earth.

Field investigations carried out by EIA/Telapak at seven locations in Papua and West Papua Provinces during 2009 reveal a stark picture of government condoned exploitation of traditional landowners, many of whom are being enticed, tricked and sometimes coerced into releasing large swathes of forested land for plantations on the basis of unfulfilled promises of development benefits such as improved transport, schooling, and housing.

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