Spatiotemporal analysis of oil palm land clearing

M. K. Rosyidy, E. Frimawaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES: Oil palm is an agricultural crop essential to Indonesia's economy. Therefore, the number of oil palm plantations has increased, leading to widespread deforestation in Indonesia, including Jambi Province. In this investigation, remote sensing with a geographic information system approach is used to evaluate deforestation and the land changes caused by oil palm expansion conducted by smallholders that eventually influence environmental change. This study conducts a spatiotemporal (spatial and temporal) analysis of oil palm land clearing in Jambi Province that results in land changes and environmental impacts. METHODS: This research used data from Landsat 8 satellite imagery. The land cover classification was conducted using the Maximum Likelihood approach, whereas the overlay method was used for land change analysis. The accuracy assessment of classification results used a confusion matrix by considering the overall accuracy and Kappa Coefficient. Within the field observation, the validation class was the oil palm class, and documentation and plotting using the global positioning system were conducted. Other classes were validated using the region of interest collected through Google Earth. This research used the Aviation Reconnaissance Coverage Geographic Information System 10.1 software to transform the categorization results into vector data. FINDINGS: This study shows that the land cover classification results have high accuracy and that the area of oil palm land from 2015 to 2019 has increased along with a decrease in land used, such as forests and others. The area of oil palm land in 2014 was 2,071,345 hectares, whereas that in 2019 was 2,110,545 hectares. In particular, the land cover area increased by 39.2 thousand hectares because of land clearing and deforestation. Moreover, the built-up area has increased in the last five years by 165,358 hectares. The number of oil palm plantations in relatively plain areas tends to be greater than that in areas with relatively high altitudes and steep slopes. Small farmers’ area of oil palm land has increased by 1,000 hectares from 2014 to 2018. The most remarkable increase of approximately 38,889 hectares has occurred from 2016 to 2017. CONCLUSION: This study demonstrates that using Landsat 8 imagery with Geographic Information System approaches provides the optimal method for an in-depth analysis of land cover changes related to oil palm expansion and land clearing that occur on a broad spatial and temporal scale in Jambi Province. This study shows that smallholder oil palm plantations in the Jambi region play an important role in increasing deforestation not only in Jambi Province but also throughout Indonesia. This study is expected to serve as a valuable resource for informing policy decisions aimed at addressing the issue of deforestation resulting from the prospective increase in oil palm crops in the forthcoming period.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)821-836
Number of pages16
JournalGlobal Journal of Environmental Science and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2024


  • Geographic information system (GIS)
  • Land change
  • Oil palm
  • Remote sensing (RS)
  • Spatiotemporal


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