Science News
from research organizations

Palm oil plantations devastating to tropical peat swamp forests

Date:
October 6, 2016
Source:
South Dakota State University
Summary:
Any notion that current palm oil production practices in southeast Asian peat swamp forests are environmentally responsible or sustainable in practice is ludicrous, say experts.
Share:
FULL STORY

These palms will be planted on the cleared areas of the Indonesian peat swamp forest. In Sept. 2015, the U.S. Department of Agriculture estimated that Indonesia will produce 35 million metric tons of palm oil, more than any other country.
Credit: Image courtesy of South Dakota State University

Any notion that current palm oil production practices in southeast Asian peat swamp forests are environmentally responsible or sustainable in practice is ludicrous, according to wildfire expert Mark Cochrane, a senior scientist at the Geospatial Sciences Center of Excellence at South Dakota State University.

Since 2013, he has been using satellite imaging, field studies and modeling to help the Indonesian Forest Research and Development Agency assess the progress being made to reduce these carbon emissions from peat swamp forests. The tropical peat forests in southeast Asia store an estimated 69 gigatonnes of carbon.

Cochrane is one of the 139 scientists who have refuted comments made by Malaysian Minister of Modernisation, Agriculture and Rural Economy Douglas Uggah Embas. The scientists represent 115 government, academic, industry and nongovernmental organizations from 20 nations. The letter to the editor is in Global Change Biology.

Even the oil palm and pulpwood companies are realizing the constraints and risks involved in operating in the peat swamp forests, according to Cochrane. Instead, sustainable methods of growing crops that can withstand the wet condition of the peatlands should be cultivated -- and those methods have not yet been developed.


Story Source:

Materials provided by South Dakota State University. Note: Content may be edited for style and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Lahiru S. Wijedasa, Jyrki Jauhiainen, Mari Könönen, Maija Lampela, Harri Vasander, Marie-Claire LeBlanc, Stephanie Evers, Thomas E.L. Smith, Catherine M. Yule, Helena Varkkey, Massimo Lupascu, Faizal Parish, Ian Singleton, Gopalasamy R. Clements, Sheema Abdul Aziz, Mark E. Harrison, Susan Cheyne, Gusti Z. Anshari, Erik Meijaard, Jenny E. Goldstein, Susan Waldron, Kristell Hergoualc'h, René Dommain, Steve Frolking, Christopher D. Evans, Mary Rose C. Posa, Paul H. Glaser, Nyoman Suryadiputra, Reza Lubis, Truly Santika, Rory Padfield, Sofyan Kurnianto, Panut Hadisiswoyo, Teck Wyn Lim, Susan E. Page, Vincent Gauci, Peter J van der Meer, Helen Buckland, Fabien Garnier, Marshall K. Samuel, Liza Nuriati Lim Kim Choo, Patrick O'Reilly, Matthew Warren, Surin Suksuwan, Elham Sumarga, Anuj Jain, William F. Laurance, John Couwenberg, Hans Joosten, Ronald Vernimmen, Aljosja Hooijer, Chris Malins, Mark A. Cochrane, Balu Perumal, Florian Siegert, Kelvin S.-H. Peh, Louis-Pierre Comeau, Louis Verchot, Charles F. Harvey, Alex Cobb, Zeehan Jaafar, Henk Wösten, Solichin Manuri, Moritz Müller, Wim Giesen, Jacob Phelps, Ding Li Yong, Marcel Silvius, Béatrice M. M. Wedeux, Alison Hoyt, Mitsuru Osaki, Hirano Takashi, Hidenori Takahashi, Takashi S. Kohyama, Akira Haraguchi, Nunung P. Nugroho, David A. Coomes, Le Phat Quoi, Alue Dohong, Haris Gunawan, David L.A. Gaveau, Andreas Langner, Felix K. S. Lim, David P. Edwards, Xingli Giam, Guido van der Werf, Rachel Carmenta, Caspar C. Verwer, Luke Gibson, Laure Grandois, Laura Linda Bozena Graham, Jhanson Regalino, Serge A. Wich, Jack Rieley, Nicholas Kettridge, Chloe Brown, Romain Pirard, Sam Moore, B. Ripoll Capilla, Uwe Ballhorn, Hua Chew Ho, Agata Hoscilo, Sandra Lohberger, Theodore A. Evans, Nina Yulianti, Grace Blackham, Onrizal, Simon Husson, Daniel Murdiyarso, Sunita Pangala, Lydia E.S. Cole, Luca Tacconi, Hendrik Segah, Prayoto Tonoto, Janice S.H. Lee, Gerald Schmilewski, Stephan Wulffraat, Erianto Indra Putra, Megan E. Cattau, R.S. Clymo, Ross Morrison, Aazani Mujahid, Jukka Miettinen, Soo Chin Liew, Samu Valpola, David Wilson, Laura D'Arcy, Michiel Gerding, Siti Sundari, Sara A. Thornton, Barbara Kalisz, Stephen J. Chapman, Ahmad Suhaizi Mat Su, Imam Basuki, Masayuki Itoh, Carl Traeholt, Sean Sloan, Alexander K. Sayok, Roxane Andersen. Denial of long-term issues with agriculture on tropical peatlands will have devastating consequences. Global Change Biology, 2016; DOI: 10.1111/gcb.13516

Cite This Page:

South Dakota State University. "Palm oil plantations devastating to tropical peat swamp forests." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 October 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006221929.htm>.
South Dakota State University. (2016, October 6). Palm oil plantations devastating to tropical peat swamp forests. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 26, 2017 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006221929.htm
South Dakota State University. "Palm oil plantations devastating to tropical peat swamp forests." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/10/161006221929.htm (accessed May 26, 2017).

RELATED STORIES