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Palm Oil

Globally the deforestation of tropical rain forests is a major contributor to climate change, as felled and burned trees and vegetation release methane and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. Recently the palm oil expansion has been on Indonesian and Malaysian peat swamps and when they are cleared and drained they release enormous amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Up to 66% of all climate change emmisssions from palm oil plantations come from the 17% of plantations on carbon-rich peat soils.

The effects of clearing and production of palm oil causes more than just degradation of the land & elimination of critical habitat for endangered species but also for local people who are robbed of their land and livelihoods, and deprives them of essential ecosystem services like clean water and fertile soils.

Smoke haze and fires make it hazardous for those living close and further afield as the smoke haze spreads.

Over 90% of orangutan habitat has been destroyed in the last 20 years.

Other megafuana that suffer as a result of palm oil development include species like the Sumatran Tiger, Sumatran Rhinoceros, Sun Bear, Pygmy Elephant, Clouded Leopard & Proboscis Monkey. Road networks that are constructed to allow palm oil plantation workers and equipment access to the forest also increase accessability of these areas to poachers that are looking for these valuable animals.

Palm oil is native to west Africa and production was considered small scale but the degradation and despoiling of Indonesia & Malaysia have investors flocking to west Africa to secure land for rival plantations.

Large scale palm oil plantations in Africa are already causing serious environmental and social impacts in some countries, resulting in loss of community rights over territories.