Palm oil & climate change

Forest conversion by plantation companies contributes to climate change.

The practice of draining and converting tropical peatland forests in Indonesia is particularly damaging as these "carbon sinks" store more carbon per unit area than any other ecosystem in the world.

Forest fires set to clear vegetation for oil palm plantations are one source of  CO2 released from land clearing.

In 1997, such fires in Indonesia may have been one of the main sources of global CO2 emissions – in a year that had more emissions than any other on record since record-keeping started in 1957 (Page et al. (2002); in Clay (2004)). An estimated 0.81-2.57 gigatons of carbon were released into the atmosphere by the fires: 13-40% of the mean annual global carbon emissions from fossil fuels that year.
 / ©: Mark Edwards / WWF-Canon
Burning rainforest to clear land for oil palm plantations near the Bukit Tigapuluh Nature Reserve, Sumatra, Indonesia.
© Mark Edwards / WWF-Canon

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