Palm Oil, Deforestation and Poverty

Ross Spencer, Deforestation Watch

Which is the issue that is considered the world’s biggest problem.  Is it climate change, terrorism or war?  According to a major worldwide BBC poll out Sunday, it is poverty that is the biggest and most intractable problem facing the world today! Continue reading

Orang utan lovers cry foul

Muguntan Vanar, Malaysia Star

KOTA KINABALU: Orang utan conservationists are upset with World Growth, a US non-governmental organisation, for “dismissing” the threat posed to the ape population by oil palm plantations.

“Genetic studies in Sabah show that the orang utan population has declined by 50 to 90% over the past few decades,” said Sabah-based wildlife biologist Dr Marc Ancrenaz. Continue reading

Orangutans vs Palm Oil in Malaysia: Setting the Record Straight

Interview by HUTAN’s Dr. Marc Ancrenaz,

The Malaysian palm oil industry has been broadly accused of contributing to the dramatic decline in orangutan populations in Sabah, a state in northern Borneo, over the past 30 years. The industry has staunchly denied these charges and responded with marketing campaigns claiming the opposite: that oil palm plantations can support and nourish the great red apes. The issue came to a head last October at the Orangutan Colloquium held in Kota Kinabalu. There, confronted by orangutan biologists, the palm oil industry pledged to support restoring forest corridors along rivers in order to help facilitate movement of orangutans between remaining forest reserves across seas of oil palm plantations. Attending NGOs agreed that they would need to work with industry to find a balance that would allow the ongoing survival of orangutans in the wild. Nevertheless, the conference was marked by much of the same rhetoric that has characterized most of these meetings — chief palm oil industry officials again made dubious claims about the environmental stewardship of the industry. However, this time, there was at least acknowledgment that palm oil needs to play an active role in conservation. Continue reading

Beat Poverty First, Then Tackle Emissions

Alan Oxley, The Australian

THE climate change debacle at Copenhagen last month underlined the reality that any new global agreement will be on the terms set by developing countries. Leading commentators have written that China’s leading role in this was a demonstration of its new influence as an economic power. Continue reading