Palm oil production is the leading cause of deforestation in Indonesia and Malaysia – threatening the survival of critically endangered orang-utans, as well as tigers, elephants and rhinos.
What Is Palm Oil?
Palm oil is used for cooking in developing countries, but in developed nations it’s mainly used in soaps and cosmetics. Oil palm trees are grown only in the tropics. The industry has boomed in these developing nations as oil palms produce a far higher yield at a lower cost than other vegetable oils.
The Environmental Cost
Unfortunately, the palm oil industry’s quick expansion comes at a huge environmental price. In South-East Asia, approximately 300 football fields worth of forest are destroyed every hour to make way for palm oil plantations. Much of the forest is cleared by burning, thus releasing more carbon-dioxide into the atmosphere while simultaneously reducing the earth’s ability to reabsorb it.
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