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This sentinel landscape consists of a collection of landscapes which are linked to a global market chain and investment flows associated with oil palm development. The main goals of research on this sentinel landscape are to improve our understanding, with a comparative perspective, of the main socioecological transformations underway in specific landscapes associated with the development of a global palm oil value chain.

Researchers argue that some important differences exist in at least three aspects: 1) the land-use change trajectories resulting from oil palm development, as oil palm plays a different role depending on the stages of agrarian and forest transition in specific landscapes; 2) the distribution of economic benefits as oil palm plays a different role in economic growth and people’s livelihoods depending on the adoption of different business models related to corporate strategies and existing policy incentives; and 3) the effectiveness of policy and market-based instruments to regulate oil palm expansion that depend on broader institutional conditions. In-depth understanding of the different trajectories of oil palm development and their impacts can contribute to more effective decision-making on ways to ameliorate the negative socioenvironmental impacts of oil palm and enhance the positive ones.

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