Landscape Ecological Changes and Livelihood Dilemma of the Rural Household around the Oil Palm Plantation

Reni Fatmasari, Rahim Darma, Darmawan Salman, Yunus Musa


The pressure of global market demand for palm oil is driving a massive expansion of oil palm plantations in Indonesia. Although it provides benefits in economic terms, it also has social and environmental impacts. The impact is in the form of changes in the ecological landscape, conversion of agricultural land, rural household livelihood systems, reduced biodiversity, deformation, plant monoculturalization, and even a monostructuring of livelihood. This study aimed to provide an overview of changes in the ecological landscape that resulted from the expansion of oil palm plantations and the socio-economic impact of the expansion of oil palm plantations on farmers' household livelihood systems. The study was conducted in West Sulawesi, Indonesia. This study uses the livelihood survey method by selecting 30 farmer households selected by random sampling. The results of the study found the fact that oil palm plantations seemed to provide welfare for rural households, but what happened was a vulnerability and high livelihood dependence on income from the wages of oil palm plantations. The expansion of oil palm plantations has created the integration and dependence of rural economies on the global political economy of oil palm, but at risk to even undergoing household livelihood dilemmas due to the two villages’ deliberate divergence of livelihoods because of shifting ecosystems now leading by palm oil commodities.


oil palm; expansion; livelihood; dependency; vulnerability.

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