The Potential Effects Of Palm Oil And Deforestation In Southeast Asia

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Deforestation, or “the conversion of forest to another land use or the long-term reduction of the tree canopy cover” (“Deforestation”) is a global problem. One immediate effect of this phenomenon is the degradation of forests. More specifically, deforestation reduces biodiversity, releases greenhouse gas emissions, disrupts water cycles, increases soil erosion, and disrupts livelihoods (“Deforestation”). Southeast Asia is facing extreme amounts of deforestation. About 3.5 million hectares of forest were lost between the years of 1990 and 2000 in the countries of Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea for palm oil plantations (“Palm Oil and Deforestation”). This is equivalent to the destruction of 300 football fields of forest every hour …show more content…
First and foremost, people are losing their land and livelihoods when areas are cleared for the implementation of plantations (“Palm Oil and Deforestation”). The Indonesian government continues to give indigenous land to companies. Sometimes this land is seized illegally (Mosbergen). Additionally, locals are deprived of clean water and fertile soils when the forests are removed. The quality of the air is also degraded because of the slash-and-burn method of clearing lands; the widespread smoke haze affects human health (“Palm Oil and Deforestation”). This industry has been associated with many human rights issues, some of which include forced and child labor (“List of Goods”). It is clear that the losers of the process of deforestation are the environment because of its destruction, animals because of their threatened extinction, and people for the negative social and physical …show more content…
On the small scale, grassroots organizations are working hard to inform consumers of the negative impacts of palm oil. They urge those who find this concerning to pressure companies to rethink their policies regarding palm oil (Mosbergen). The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil is an organization with the goal to “transform markets to make sustainable palm oil the norm”. They unite with stakeholders from the palm oil industry to implement global standards for sustainable palm oil (“Why RSPO”). Growing to a larger scale, some palm oil growers, traders, and buyers promise more sustainable and ethical production. Large scale pressures to make methods more sustainable come from multiple sources. In 2015, sixteen industry leaders, some of which include PepsiCo and Starbucks, wrote to the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil urging them to enforce stricter sustainability standards (Mosbergen). Many countries in the European Union recently signed “The Amsterdam Declaration 2015” (“100% Certified Sustainable”) in hopes of importing only certified sustainable palm oil by the year 2020 (Mosbergen). The concern of consumers will, hopefully, influence the decisions made by companies, countries, and

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