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Indonesia drops moratorium on new palm oil plantations; enviros warn of deforestation surge

BALI, Indonesia — Palm oil industry watchdogs are warning of a possible surge in deforestation across Indonesia, after the government ended a three-year freeze on issuing permits for new plantations.

The moratorium had been imposed in 2018, ostensibly to allow the industry to address the problems of deforestation, land conflicts and labor abuses long associated with palm oil. It expired at the end of September, and although the government had the option of renewing it, it chose not to do so.

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