The investigative series Indonesia for Sale will reveal the links between deforestation, conflict over land rights, and palm oil plantation companies in Indonesia in a series of in-depth articles and short films. A collaboration between Mongabay and The Gecko Project, the series centers around three case studies, each revealing how large tracts of land have been transferred by government officials to private companies.
Each installment delves into different aspects of political corruption that has lead to millions of hectares of land and forests being granted to palm oil plantation companies. These land deals have resulted in major deforestation, the draining of peat swamps, and the displacement of many indigenous and rural communities across Indonesia, Mongabay reports.
The series is the result of nine months’ investigative reporting across Indonesian districts and communities. Reporters met with indigenous activists who carried out their own investigations into the officials selling their land, and with fixers who facilitated deals between politicians and private companies.
The three major installments will be supported by articles that explore broader issues raised by the investigations. These include the role of brokers in facilitating palm oil deals, the tactics used by companies to acquire land from indigenous groups, and the failure of plantation firms to uphold Indonesian law in providing smallholdings for nearby communities.
Indonesia for Sale hopes to highlight the global importance of Indonesia’s forests and how agricultural expansion and deforestation, backed by policymakers and the private sector, has transformed these once carbon-rich ecosystems into major greenhouse gas emitters.