Chun Sheng Goh and Ser Huay Janice Teresa Lee. 2021. “Transforming Exploitative Land-Based Economy to Reduce Terrestrial Carbon Stock Loss: The Case of Kalimantan, Indonesia.” In Climate Change Research, Policy and Actions in Indonesia: Science, Adaptation and Mitigation, edited by Riyanti Djalante, Joni Jupesta, and Edvin Aldrian, Pp. 229–245. Cham: Springer International Publishing. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Large-scale land exploitation has been regarded as a quick way to jumpstart backward agricultural economies, but it also brought about profound impacts on climate change through terrestrial carbon stock change. Kalimantan is a major site of terrestrial carbon stock loss. Major carbon stock loss happened in the 1970–1980s due to predatory logging activities under Suharto's regime. Since 2000, the conversion of forest to oil palm plantation has become a prominent driver. In 2006–2010, the total carbon stock loss in Kalimantan amounted to 53 Tg CO2/yr. Boosting upstream productivity of cash crops, mobilising under-utilised low carbon and degraded land resources, creating value for carbon stock (e.g. REDD+) and enhancing resilience to natural and human-made disasters were regarded as the four major strategies proposed for transforming exploitative land-based activities. However, the implementation of each strategy has faced various challenges. The first two strategies with wealth creation as the centre of policymaking may prevent further degradation but are inadequate to repair the previous environmental damage. Similarly, the last two strategies that emphasise restoration have limited contribution to economic growth. To better understand the dynamics of such transformation, careful attention must be paid to the territorial-specific characteristics and on-the-ground realities. This must also include the historical background of land-based development and its continuity.
Chun Sheng Goh. 2020. “Transforming exploitative land-based economy: The case of Borneo.” Environmental Development, 33, Pp. 100487. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Large-scale land exploitation to jumpstart backward economies is often accompanied by massive environmental impacts. The broad concepts of productivity-oriented ‘bio-economy’ and conservation-oriented ‘eco-economy’ were proposed to transform exploitative land-based economies. Taking cases in Borneo as core examples, this paper explores 10 transformative strategies for sustainability: boosting upstream productivity of cash crops, activating under-utilised low carbon (ULC) land for production, upgrading and diversifying downstream activities, branding for more values (industrial), establishing new domestic demand for bio-resources, creating values for carbon and ecosystem services, enhancing agro-ecological resilience, establishing eco-based tertiary sectors, branding for more values (smallholders), and encouraging self-sufficient farming. Generally, utility-based development strategies with wealth creation as the centre of policymaking are inadequate to repair the previous environmental damage. Likewise, strategies that prioritise restoration have shown a limited contribution to economic growth as observed in the case of Borneo. The interconnected nature of economic productivity and conservation means that no single strategy is a perfect solution but a combination of them may produce a better outcome. While integrated landscape analysis that combines land-use models and economic analyses can facilitate understanding of the systems, in-depth area studies are necessary to capture the more subtle ‘human factors’ like socio-political dynamics. The existence of multiple stakeholders with different interests and values means that an ‘optimal’ combination would be a result of political negotiations rather than scientific investigations. To design and also effectively execute the strategies, communication, collaboration and co-production of knowledge between scientific communities and various stakeholders is imperative.
Chun Sheng Goh, Osamu Saito, and Yoshiki Yamagata. 2020. “Developing sustainable bioenergy systems with local bio-resources: cases in Asia.” Sustainability Science, 15, 5, Pp. 1449-1453. Publisher's VersionAbstract
The concept of sustainability science is paramount to establish a development thinking with deep and thorough considerations of hybridized on-ground realities shaped by the interplay of energy, land, economic, and climatic elements. This special feature intends to engage sustainability science in understanding the role of bioenergy in sustainable development, particularly for cases in East Asia. Especially, it encourages potential works that carefully consider perspectives of different stakeholders, including communicating with both experts and non-experts and integrating knowledge from different disciplines like forestry, social studies, or energy system sciences. It aims to create the context for motivating the society in tackling the sustainability issues related to energy, forest, and society.
Chun Sheng Goh, Takanobu Aikawa, Amanda Ahl, Kanae Ito, Chihiro Kayo, Yasunori Kikuchi, Yasuo Takahashi, Takaaki Furubayashi, Toshihiko Nakata, Yuichiro Kanematsu, Osamu Saito, and Yoshiki Yamagata. 2020. “Rethinking sustainable bioenergy development in Japan: decentralised system supported by local forestry biomass.” Sustainability Science, 15, Pp. 1461–1471.Abstract

Bioenergy has been promoted in Japan with ambitious targets. However, the incentive schemes excluded renewable heat and overlooked synergies with local forest management, leading to the development of large-scale biomass plants that heavily rely on overseas biomass supplies. This case report discussed an alternative scenario of decentralised bioenergy systems supported with local biomass through five important questions. The currently available knowledge indicates that such a scenario is feasible with integrative forest management that considers both ecosystem services and multiple uses of wood. In addition to various environmental benefits, replacing imported fossil fuels with local biomass can also enhance energy security. Realising this scenario requires careful consideration of local context, empowerment of local governments and encouragement of both public and private initiatives.


Martin Junginger, Jaap Koppejan, and Chun Sheng Goh. 2020. “Sustainable bioenergy deployment in East and South East Asia: notes on recent trends.” Sustainability Science, 15, Pp. 1455–1459.Abstract

The use and trade of solid biomass for modern bioenergy have grown rapidly in Asia. In September 2018, IEA Bioenergy organized a workshop in Tokyo to address these ongoing developments. The policies in Japan and South Korea have triggered a more import-oriented development, while bioenergy in Malaysia, Indonesia and China is closely linked to agriculture and rural policies. Four major points were raised and discussed: balancing local supplies and international trade, switching from fossil to renewable infrastructure, addressing sustainability concerns and tackling regulatory uncertainty. This workshop showed a clear need for more information exchange between countries through platforms like IEA Bioenergy.


Chun Sheng Goh, Amanda Ahl, and Wing Thye Woo. 2020. “Sustainable Transformation of Land-Based Economic Development in the Era of Digital Revolution.” Trends in Biotechnology, 17, Pp. 192-200. Publisher's VersionAbstract
Biotechnology will play a key role in transforming current land-use systems alongside the digital revolution by using five strategies: enhancing productivity at the farm or plantation level, replenishing degraded land, enabling landscape management for resilience, upgrading and diversifying downstream activities, and creating new value propositions.
Chun Sheng Goh, Martin Junginger, Lesley Potter, André Faaij, and Birka Wicke. 2018. “Identifying key factors for mobilising under-utilised low carbon land resources: A case study on Kalimantan.” Land Use Policy, 70, Pp. 198-211.Abstract

Mobilising under-utilised low carbon (ULC) land for future agricultural expansion helps minimising further carbon stock loss. This study examined the regency cases in Kalimantan, a carbon loss hotspot, to understand the key factors for mobilising ULC land via narrative interviews with a range of land-use actors and complementary desktop analyses. The factors were broadly categorised into economic, agro-ecological, institutional and cultural factors, which were perceived as opportunities and/or barriers by different land-uses and stakeholders (with different business models), and can vary across regencies. Generally, oil palm was regarded by most interviewees as an economic opportunity, reflecting that there were no other more attractive options. However, oil palm may also be limited by various factors. For example, labour availability may greatly limit the actual amount of land that can be mobilised in many regencies due to low population density. These economic factors were interlinked with the agro-ecological factors, such as soil quality, which was often regarded as the reason of low economic attractiveness. The other two categories, institutional and cultural factors, are more subtle and complex, involving socio-political elements across the hierarchy of authorities. Understanding these factors requires understanding the relationships between different stakeholders and their histories. Past analyses on ULC land largely focus on a single crop or end-use. This study shows that mobilisation of ULC land has to depart from analysing the specific conditions within individual regencies, especially considering the views of multiple land-use actors on different land-use options and business models. Future research is recommended to assess available land-use options and business models by investigating how they are affected by each of the factors identified here and accounting for the policy targets set by individual regencies (e.g. economic development or food security) and the preference and capability of local actors.


Wanggi Jaung, Edi Wiraguna, Beni Okarda, Yustina Artati, Chun Sheng Goh, Ramdhoni Syahru, Budi Leksono, Lilik Prasetyo, Soo Lee, and Himlal Baral. 2018. “Spatial Assessment of Degraded Lands for Biofuel Production in Indonesia.” Sustainability, 10.Abstract

This study spatially estimated degraded lands in Indonesia that have limited functions for food production, carbon storage, and conservation of biodiversity and native vegetation and examined their suitability to grow biodiesel species (Calophyllum inophyllum, Pongamia pinnata, and Reutealis trisperma) and biomass species (Calliandra calothyrsus and Gliricidia sepium). Results showed ~3.5 million ha of degraded lands potentially suitable for these species in Indonesia. With the all-five-species scenario, these lands had the potential to produce 1105 PJ year−1 of biomass and 3 PJ year−1 of biodiesel. With the biodiesel-only-species scenario, these lands showed the potential to produce 10 PJ year−1 of biodiesel. Despite this energy potential, however, the land sizes were too small to support economies of scale for biofuel production. The study findings contribute to identifying lands with limited functions, modeling the growth of biofuel species on regional lands, and estimating carbon stocks of restored degraded lands in Indonesia.


Chun Sheng Goh, Birka Wicke, Lesley Potter, André Faaij, Annelies Zoomers, and Martin Junginger. 2017. “Exploring under-utilised low carbon land resources from multiple perspectives: Case studies on regencies in Kalimantan.” Land Use Policy, 60, Pp. 150-168.Abstract

Mobilising under-utilised low carbon (ULC) land resources for future agricultural production can help reducing pressure on high carbon stock land from agricultural expansion, particularly for deforestation hotspots like Kalimantan. However, the potential of ULC land is not yet well understood, especially at regency level which is the key authority for land-use planning in Indonesia. Therefore, this study explored ULC land resources for all regencies in Kalimantan. By analysing information from six monitoring domains, a range of indicators were derived to provide insights into the physical area of ULC land from various perspectives. It was found that these indicators show largely different values at regency level. For example, regency Pulang Pisau has a substantial area of ‘temporarily unused agricultural land’ but a very limited area of ‘low carbon land’ – this implies that not all ‘temporarily unused agricultural land’ is ready for future exploitation when assessing from different aspects. As a result of such diverging indicators, using a single indicator to quantify available ULC land resources is risky as it can either be an over- or under-estimation. Thus, ULC land resources were further explored in the present paper by taking four regencies as case studies and comparing all the indicators, supported with relevant literature and evidence collected from narrative interviews. This information was used to estimate ULC land area by possible land-use strategies. For example, Gunung Mas was found to have a large area of low carbon land which is not occupied and might be suitable for oil palm deployment. However, the major limitation is that physical estimates cannot provide a complete picture of ‘real’ land availability without considering a broader range of socio-economic factors (e.g. labour availability). Therefore, physical land area indicators from different domains must be combined with other qualitative and quantitative information especially the socio-economic factors underlying land under-utilisation to obtain better estimates.


C. S. Goh. 2016. “Can We Get Rid of Palm Oil?” Trends Biotechnol, 34, Pp. 948-950.Abstract
Concerns over the sustainability of palm oil have triggered debates about its role in a bio-based economy, but can we get rid of it? Although the quick answer is no, we should eliminate unsustainable land-use practices. However, currently, technical and financial support for land-users to adopt sustainable land-use practices in the cultivation of palm oil is largely missing.
Inge Stupak, Jamie Joudrey, C. Tattersall Smith, Luc Pelkmans, Helena Chum, Annette Cowie, Oskar Englund, Chun Sheng Goh, and Martin Junginger. 2016. “A global survey of stakeholder views and experiences for systems needed to effectively and efficiently govern sustainability of bioenergy.” Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Energy and Environment, 5, Pp. 89-118.
C. S. Goh, B. Wicke, J. Verstegen, A. Faaij, and M. Junginger. 2016. “Linking carbon stock change from land-use change to consumption of agricultural products: A review with Indonesian palm oil as a case study.” J Environ Manage, 184, Pp. 340-352.Abstract
Numerous analyses have been performed to quantitatively link carbon stock change caused by land-use change (CSC-LUC) to consumption of agricultural products, but results differ significantly, even for studies focussing on the same region or product. This is due to the different focuses and interpretations of the links between direct drivers and underlying causes of CSC-LUC, which can be translated into differences in key functions, i.e. specific methods, algorithms and parameters embedded in the analysis. Using the example of Indonesian palm oil production (often associated with CSC-LUC), this paper carries out a meta-analysis of 12 existing studies, determines the different settings for the key functions embedded in consumption-based CSC-LUC studies and discussed their implications for policymaking. It identifies the underlying reasons of adopting different settings within the eight key functions and their advantages and trade-offs. Examples are the way of determining how deforestation is linked to oil palm, and the inclusion of non-agriculture and non-productive drivers in the accounting to weight their roles in CSC-LUC in comparison to palm oil consumption. Following that, the quantitative results from the selected studies were processed and harmonised in terms of unit, allocation mechanism, allocation key and amortisation period. This resulting in ranges of 0.1-3.8 and -0.1-15.7 tCO2/t crude palm oil for historical and projection studies, respectively. It was observed that CSC-LUC allocated to palm oil is typically lower when propagating effects and non-agricultural or non-productive drivers were accounted for. Values also greatly differ when marginal and average allocation mechanisms were employed. Conclusively, individual analyses only answer part of the question about CSC-LUC drivers and have their own strengths and weaknesses. Since the context can be very different, using quantitative results from a single study for accounting purposes in policymaking is not recommended. Instead, insights from different studies should be combined, e.g. the relative role of logging and oil palm or the contribution to CSC-LUC in regional and global perspectives.
C. S. Goh, B. Wicke, A. Faaij, D. N. Bird, H. Schwaiger, and M. Junginger. 2016. “Linking carbon stock change from land-use change to consumption of agricultural products: Alternative perspectives.” J Environ Manage, 182, Pp. 542-556.Abstract
Agricultural expansion driven by growing demand has been a key driver for carbon stock change as a consequence of land-use change (CSC-LUC). However, its relative role compared to non-agricultural and non-productive drivers, as well as propagating effects were not clearly addressed. This study contributed to this subject by providing alternative perspectives in addressing these missing links. A method was developed to allocate historical CSC-LUC to agricultural expansions by land classes (products), trade, and end use. The analysis for 1995-2010 leads to three key trends: (i) agricultural land degradation and abandonment is found to be a major (albeit indirect) driver for CSC-LUC, (ii) CSC-LUC is spurred by the growth of cross-border trade, (iii) non-food use (excluding liquid biofuels) has emerged as a significant contributor of CSC-LUC in the 2000's. In addition, the study demonstrated that exact values of CSC-LUC at a single spatio-temporal point may change significantly with different methodological settings. For example, CSC-LUC allocated to 'permanent oil crops' changed from 0.53 Pg C (billion tonne C) of carbon stock gain to 0.11 Pg C of carbon stock loss when spatial boundaries were changed from global to regional. Instead of comparing exact values for accounting purpose, key messages for policymaking were drawn from the main trends. Firstly, climate change mitigation efforts pursued through a territorial perspective may ignore indirect effects elsewhere triggered through trade linkages. Policies targeting specific commodities or types of consumption are also unable to quantitatively address indirect CSC-LUC effects because the quantification changes with different arbitrary methodological settings. Instead, it is recommended that mobilising non-productive or under-utilised lands for productive use should be targeted as a key solution to avoid direct and indirect CSC-LUC.
Julian Matzenberger, Lukas Kranzl, Eric Tromborg, Martin Junginger, Vassilis Daioglou, Chun Sheng Goh, and Kimon Keramidas. 2015. “Future perspectives of international bioenergy trade.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 43, Pp. 926-941.
Chun Sheng Goh, Martin Junginger, and André Faaij. 2014. “Monitoring sustainable biomass flows: General methodology development.” Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 8, Pp. 83-102.
Chun Sheng Goh, Martin Junginger, Maurizio Cocchi, Didier Marchal, Daniela Thrän, Christiane Hennig, Jussi Heinimö, Lars Nikolaisen, Peter-Paul Schouwenberg, Douglas Bradley, Richard Hess, Jacob Jacobson, Leslie Ovard, and Michael Deutmeyer. 2013. “Wood pellet market and trade: a global perspective.” Biofuels, Bioproducts and Biorefining, 7, Pp. 24-42.
C. S. Goh, H. T. Tan, and K. T. Lee. 2012. “Pretreatment of oil palm frond using hot compressed water: an evaluation of compositional changes and pulp digestibility using severity factors.” Bioresour Technol, 110, Pp. 662-9.Abstract
The influence of reaction temperature (160-200 degrees C), residence time (45-90min), and liquid-solid ratio (8-16v/w) on oil palm frond (OPF) pre-treated with hot compressed water (HCW) was evaluated using severity factors. Effect of the process parameters studied on pulps composition and digestibility were found to be complex. The results revealed that digestibility could not be predicted merely according to composition. Severity factor was correlated with compositional changes and digestibility with good R-squared values at varied liquid-solid ratios (8-16v/w), but not with overall glucose yield. HCW pretreatment significantly improved the overall glucose yield up to 83.72% with severity of 3.31 and liquid-solid ratio of 8.0 compared to untreated raw OPF which only recorded an overall glucose yield of 30.97%. HCW is therefore an effective method for pretreatment of OPF for glucose recovery.
Chun Sheng Goh, Hui Teng Tan, Keat Teong Lee, and Nicolas Brosse. 2011. “Evaluation and optimization of organosolv pretreatment using combined severity factors and response surface methodology.” Biomass and Bioenergy, 35, Pp. 4025-4033.
Chun Sheng Goh and Keat Teong Lee. 2011. “Second-generation biofuel (SGB) in Southeast Asia via lignocellulosic biorefinery: Penny-foolish but pound-wise.” Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 15, Pp. 2714-2718.
Chun Sheng Goh, Kok Tat Tan, Keat Teong Lee, and Subhash Bhatia. 2010. “Bio-ethanol from lignocellulose: Status, perspectives and challenges in Malaysia.” Bioresource Technology, 101, Pp. 4834-4841.