Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/2440/83213
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Type: Journal article
Title: Addressing the threats to biodiversity from oil-palm agriculture
Author: Wilcove, D.
Koh, L.
Citation: Biodiversity and Conservation, 2010; 19(4):999-1007
Publisher: Kluwer Academic Publ
Issue Date: 2010
ISSN: 0960-3115
1572-9710
Statement of
Responsibility: 
David S. Wilcove, Lian Pin Koh
Abstract: Oil-palm agriculture is the greatest immediate threat to biodiversity in Southeast Asia. Despite the efforts of environmentalists, oil palm continues to expand across the tropics. Those concerned about the impacts of oil palm on biodiversity must face some harsh social, economic, and ecological realities: (i) oil palm has been a very profitable crop; (ii) palm oil is used in so many products that simple, direct actions, such as boycotts, are unlikely to succeed; (iii) there is currently insufficient demand for certified sustainable palm oil and inadequate political clout from environmental groups in two of the biggest markets for palm oil—China and India—to slow the rate of forest conversion; and (iv) oil-palm agriculture has improved the lives of poor rural communities in Southeast Asia (although it has also disenfranchised some indigenous communities). To address the threats posed by oil-palm agriculture to biodiversity, environmentalists must change the behavior of the palm oil business through: (i) regulations to curb undesirable activities (e.g., a ban on converting forests to oil palm); (ii) financial incentives to promote desirable behavior (e.g., production of certified, sustainable oil palm); (iii) financial disincentives designed to discourage undesirable behavior (e.g., consumer pressure on major manufacturers and retailers to use palm oil that does not come from plantations created at the expense of forests); and (iv) the promotion of alternative, more biodiversity-friendly uses of forested land that might otherwise be converted to oil palm. There is no single best approach for dealing with the oil-palm crisis in Southeast Asia; a mixture of regulations, incentives, and disincentives targeted at all sectors of the oil-palm industry is necessary to protect the region’s rapidly disappearing forests.
Keywords: Tropical deforestation; Oil palm; Monoculture; Biodiversity conservation; Reconciliation ecology; Biofuels
Rights: © Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010
RMID: 0020137164
DOI: 10.1007/s10531-009-9760-x
Appears in Collections:Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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