Kosona Chriv

  • Adalidda

  • Cambodia, Phnom Penh, Phnom Penh

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Palm Oil Production can be Expand in a Sustainable way

Land used for palm oil production could be nearly doubled without expanding into protected or high-biodiversity forests, according to a new study published in the journal Global Environmental Change. The study is the first to map land suitable for palm oil production on a global scale, while taking into account environmental and climate considerations.

“There is room to expand palm oil production and to do it in a sustainable way,” says IIASA researcher Johannes Pirker, who led the study.

Palm oil production has expanded massively, from 6 million hectares in 1990 to 16 million in 2010, an area about the size of Uruguay. The oil, which is used for cooking and as a food additive, now accounts for about 30% of all vegetable oil used worldwide. Palm oil is controversial, in particular because much of this expansion came at the expense of biodiversity-rich tropical forests, which were cut to make room for new plantations. But oil palm farming has also contributed to lifting millions of people out of poverty in Indonesia and Malaysia, the top palm oil producing countries. And an important share of palm oil producers are small-holder farmers who rely on the commodity as their primary income.
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