Conservation

Oil palm may become a threat to tropical forests

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Science  03 Oct 2014:
Vol. 346, Issue 6205, pp. 50
DOI: 10.1126/science.346.6205.50-o

Palm oil is used in consumer products from margarine and ice cream to shampoo and detergents. Vast forests in East Asia have been cleared to create oil palm plantations. Higher-yielding oil palm varieties would allow more oil to be produced on the same amount of land. Could such varieties help to save further forests from destruction? In their Perspective, Carrasco et al. argue that the more likely outcome is further deforestation in the tropics as oil production shifts from temperate to tropical areas. This shift may result in land being spared in temperate areas. However, tropical forests are likely to come under further threat, particularly in Africa and South America.

Science, this issue p. 38

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