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Oil palm plantations are no substitute for tropical rainforests, a new study shows
Date:9/15/2008

es show stronger leadership in controlling logging, protecting forests and ensuring that crops are planted only in appropriate areas, the impacts of oil palm expansion on biodiversity will be substantial," adds Phalan.

This study is released as pressure mounts on UK and EU officials to rethink targets for biofuel sales. The UK's Renewable Fuels Agency revealed that more than 80 per cent of UK biofuels were not meeting even very basic environmental standards and has urged the UK government to slow the introduction of biofuels until more is known about their negative impacts.

While increases in biofuel use will almost certainly add to pressure on tropical forests, the study highlights how those pressures might be reduced.

A recent initiative, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil, has encouraged 40 per cent of the palm oil industry to commit to saving wildlife on and around plantations. The scientists hope that the Roundtable will continue to attract many of the remaining 60 per cent.

In Indonesia, local organisations are using satellite technology and the internet to investigate illegal forest clearance by oil palm companies and to put public pressure on them to improve.

These initiatives will help, but the study warns that unless they are scaled up and better supported by stronger government action against deforestation, damage to rainforests and their unique wildlife will continue.


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Contact: Sian Halkyard
s.halkyard@qmul.ac.uk
07-970-096-175
Queen Mary, University of London
Source:Eurekalert

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