The province of Jambi covers an area of over 5 million hectares. Two thirds of the province is hilly lowlands and flood plains formed by Jambi’s large river systems. Most of Jambi’s larger rivers have their headwaters in the Bukit Barisan Range and flow eastwards towards the coast. The coastal areas of Jambi are characterized by the Batang Hari River delta, flat marshlands and peat swamps. The natural vegetation of lowland Jambi is evergreen rainforest, peat swamp forest and mangrove forest. The Ministry of Environment and Forestry has classified 43% of the provincial area as state forest. However, only just over half of this area was actually covered with trees by 2016. Jambi is home to ecologically important ecosystems, including peat and fresh water swamps and forests in Berbak National Park.
The cornerstone of Jambi’s economy is the agriculture sector, contributing to more than a quarter of the provincial GDP. Other relevant pillars of Jambi’s economy are the exploitation of black coal, oil and gas. The most important agricultural commodities are rubber, oil palm, and rice. Jambi has experienced high levels of forest degradation as a result of commercial logging activities since the 1970s. More recently, as a result of agricultural expansion and open pit mining, Jambi has lost almost 600,000 hectares of forest between 1990 and 2016. The province’s high deforestation rate and the conversion of peat swamps lead to net annual greenhouse gas emissions.