Impacts of oil palm expansion on environmental change

01 September 2011


Jake Snaddon et al Source: Environmental Impact of Biofuels ISBN 978-953-307-479-5 Edited by: Marco Aurélio dos Santos Bernardes Publisher: InTech

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Agricultural expansion is one of the major drivers of tropical biodiversity loss worldwide(Foley et al., 2005; Green et al., 2005). Oil palm cultivation is among the main culprits, owing to its huge increase in cultivation in recent years (Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations [FAO], 2011) and its centre of production being within the most biodiverse regions and habitats on the planet (Sodhi et al., 2010; Turner et al., 2008). Increasing demand for palm oil in food products and as a biofuel is likely to result in accelerating environmental change in the future (Koh & Ghazoul, 2008). future (Koh & Ghazoul, 2008). Despite the importance of this crop and increasing global concern for environmental change, surprisingly little research has focussed on the actual impacts of conversion of forest to oil palm on biodiversity(Fitzherbert et al., 2008; Foster et al., 2011; Turner et al., 2008). In particular much still needs to be studied if we are to understand how human-modified landscapes can be managed to allow continued sustainable production of this globally important crop as well as maintenance of biodiversity.