Environmental & social impacts of palm oil production

Large areas of tropical forests and other ecosystems with high conservation values have been cleared to make room for vast monoculture oil palm plantations – destroying critical habitat for many endangered species, including rhinos, elephants and tigers.

In some cases, the expansion of plantations has lead to the eviction of forest-dwelling peoples.

When palm oil threatens tigers and elephants

WWF's investigation in Sumatra's Tesso Nilo National Park, a haven for endangered tigers and elephants, reveals how the palm oil industry is threatening this fragile protected area. 

► Find out more
The establishment of vast monoculture oil plam plantations has a number of environmental impacts.

The two most serious are:
Other impacts include:

Palm oil social impacts

New plantations can also create social conflicts if the rights and livelihoods of local communities are ignored. Not only can this cause negative external impacts but it can also affect the companies involved, and hamper the ability of the companies to expand as planned.
Oil palm plantation, Sabah, Malaysia.
© Sylvia Jane Yorath / WWF

Priority places impacted by oil palm plantations

Priority species impacted by oil palm plantations

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