Thursday, 7 May 2009

Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon

Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon

By Rainforest Rescue with Ecological Internet &

May 6, 2009


Malaysia's government owned and subsidized oil palm cooking oil and biofuel industry -- the scourge of Asia and the world's rainforests -- is continuing to expand, this time into the heart of the Brazilian Amazon


Malaysia's Federal Land Development Authority (FELDA) will soon break ground on a joint venture with a Brazilian firm to establish 30,000-100,000 hectares (ha; 75,000 - 250,000 acres) of oil palm plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Similar oil palm development continues to devastate Asia-Pacific's rainforests, and increasingly the world, with some thirty square miles of carbon and biodiversity rich habitat being cleared a day to provide cooking oil and transport biodiesel. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate change mitigation measure, yet the initial rainforest clearance leads to much more carbon release than its production and use avoids.

Large scale biofuel production runs counter to urgently addressing climate change and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, and degradation of soil and water. Global ecological sustainability and local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial development in the world's remaining old forests -- including plantations, logging, mining and dams. The amount of primary and old growth forests that have been lost has already overshot the carrying capacity of Earth. Globally there are not enough old forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total. Local peoples must be assisted to fully protect, restore and benefit from intact, standing forests.