How will oil palm expansion affect biodiversity?

Emily B. Fitzherbert, Matthew J. Struebig, Alexandra Morel, Finn Danielsen, Carsten A. Brühl, Paul F. Donald, Ben Phalan

    Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

    1029 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Oil palm is one of the world's most rapidly increasing crops. We assess its contribution to tropical deforestation and review its biodiversity value. Oil palm has replaced large areas of forest in Southeast Asia, but land-cover change statistics alone do not allow an assessment of where it has driven forest clearance and where it has simply followed it. Oil palm plantations support much fewer species than do forests and often also fewer than other tree crops. Further negative impacts include habitat fragmentation and pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions. With rising demand for vegetable oils and biofuels, and strong overlap between areas suitable for oil palm and those of most importance for biodiversity, substantial biodiversity losses will only be averted if future oil palm expansion is managed to avoid deforestation.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)538-545
    Number of pages8
    JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
    Volume23
    Issue number10
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2008

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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