Nearly everyone at one point or another, has heard of rainforest deforestation. But, how many people actually know what the rainforest is being deforested for? The answer: palm oil. Palm oil has become one of the world’s most frequently used oils and can be found in many common household products. Palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree, which happens to grow best in warm, wet climates. Where better a warm, wet climate than the rainforest?
To date, in Indonesia and Malaysia, tens of thousands of square miles of rich, rainforest ecosystems have been destroyed to clear areas for oil palm plantations. All the while, tens of thousands of square miles of unused agricultural lands remain untouched. You may be wondering why already cleared, unused land is left untouched, while thriving, lush, rainforests are destroyed for oil palm plantations. The answer: Revamping the unused land is much more costly (financially) than simply destroying entire rainforest ecosystems. In addition to this, in clearing parts of the rainforest, excessive amounts of money can be made by selling the timber that is clear cut. One would think that, with palm oil being the billion dollar industry that it is, money could be spared to reestablish unused land rather than clearing the vital rainforests. Sadly, those companies owning the majority of oil palm plantations think that saving a dime and making a profit is much more important than protecting the rainforest. They couldn’t be more wrong.
Rainforests are important! The rainforests in Indonesia and Malaysia alone, are the home to roughly 500 million indigenous peoples who depend on it for shelter and food. In addition to the human life that relies on the rainforest is the plant and animal life. It is estimated that 70% of the world’s plant and animal species live in the rainforest. But, it isn’t just about the life of those the rainforest shelters; it’s about its host as well. Rainforests also serve a great purpose in controlling our global climate. They recycle carbon rich air and replace it with clean oxygen. Furthermore, the rainforests prevent flooding by absorbing the excessive rainfall typical to Indonesia and Malaysia.
The rainforest is a vital part of our world’s ecosystems and is worth more than any dollar that could be earned through the profit of palm oil sale. It’s time that the destruction of the rainforest is stopped! To learn more about palm oil and rainforest deforestation or to find out how you can help end rainforest deforestation, visit: (http://palmoilenvironment.weebly.com/).
Source used for this article: http://www.cspinet.org/palm/PalmOilReport.pdf