Sunday, October 18, 2009

Forests vs. Palm Oil Plantations in Sumatra -- one of my favorite sources for news on the latest in conservation and sustainable development -- has a fascinating feature about the fight to conserve and restore Sumatra's rainforests and their endemic biodiversity ("endemic" species are those found nowhere else in the world, like Orangutans).

The sight and sound of tree felling is common in Indonesia, the country with the highest rate of deforestation in the world. The destruction of forests in this archipelago, draped like an emerald necklace across the equator, can be measured in hectares per minute. Today, though, is a good day for the conservationists.

The felled tree is an oil palm, or elaeis guineensis, the native of West Africa that has colonized millions of hectares of Southeast Asia's formerly pristine forests. Its fruit is crushed, processed and bleached to form a flavorless, colorless oil. The invisible ingredient in everything from your chocolate to your shampoo.

Here in Aceh, as elsewhere in Indonesia, oil palm is known as green gold, reaping vast profits for companies based across Asia and the West. Which makes cutting down palms at the height of their productive life very unusual indeed.

Read the Story at Mongabay>>

1 comment:

  1. Orangutans are critically endangered in the wild because of rapid deforestation and the expansion of palm oil plantations in Borneo and Sumatra.

    If nothing is done to protect these majestic creatures, they could be extinct in just a few years.

    I'd like to invite your readers to visit the Orangutan Outreach website and make a difference in the fight to protect orangutans!
    Reach out and save the orangutans!