Our love of palm oil is destroying forests. Here's how to use less of it.

Popular Science | 6/22/2018 | Staff
xxlauzyxx (Posted by) Level 3
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Even if you’ve never held a container of palm oil, you’ve probably purchased this ingredient in some form. The most commonly-used vegetable oil, it finds its way into food, cosmetics, and biofuel. Which is bad news for the world’s forests.

To feed the still-growing demand for this lucrative vegetable product, plantations in countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, which make 85 percent of all palm oil, are expanding. And in making room for these new Elaeis guineensis trees, many farmers are destroying rainforests.

Countries - Half - Oil - Palm - Growth

In both these countries, between 1990 and 2005, more than half of new oil palm growth “occurred at the expense of forests,” according to a 2008 study in Conservation Letters. Today, palm oil is the primary force driving deforestation in these countries.

These lost plants not only supported incredible biodiversity, but also retained carbon dioxide, preventing the greenhouse gas from entering the atmosphere. Although farmers are replacing natural growth with other trees, oil palms don’t hang onto as much carbon as rainforests do. A new study in Nature Communications found that for every 2.5 acres of rainforest converted to palm oil production, it lost nearly 200 tons of carbon—roughly the mass of a blue whale.

Course - Deforestation - Lot - Acres - Indonesia

Of course, deforestation affects a lot more than just 2.5 acres. In 2012, Indonesia earned the dubious...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Popular Science
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