THE DOWNFALL OF THE RAIN FOREST
Palm oil is one of the world’s leading vegetable oils. Numerous foods and household products in your home likely contain palm oil in some shape or form, especially packaged foods and hair products. While palm oil gives chocolate its shine and thickens nail polish, these qualities come at a price. Traditional palm oil production endangers species and harms the environment.
Palm oil thrives in Indonesia and Malaysia’s tropical environments. However, its demand resulted in slash and burn removal of the thick rain forest to make room for the plantations. According to One Green Planet, up to 300 football fields of forest are chopped down and transformed into palm oil plantations each hour.
THE DISAPPEARANCE OF ORANGUTANS
As native forests disappear due to the demand for palm oil plantations, the survival of orangutans is jeopardized. The tree-dwelling mammals rely on the forest for shelter and food. Without the shelter and food they need, orangutans navigate palm oil plantations, which places them at risk of being hunted. In some territories, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent.
Orangutans are not the only species placed at risk by mass production of palm oil. The Sumatran tiger has been pushed out of its home in areas fragmented by deforestation. The tiger population continues to plummet as plantations increase in number.
LOSS OF CAMEROON WILDLIFE
Additionally, the boom of palm oil demand in China has put wildlife in Cameroon at risk. Deforestation in that country has contributed to several species dying off from their traditional ranges.
CHIMPANZEES IN PERIL
Chimpanzees are also at risk from deforestation to create palm oil plantations, especially when viewed in combination with illegal logging and the bush meat trade that have already decreased their numbers in many countries.
MANDRILLS AS VICTIMS
Mandrills are victims, too. The males of this species, with their colorful pelage and nasal ridges, have been reduced to only 20 percent of their population due to rising plantations and deforestation.
RISE OF GLOBAL CARBON EMISSIONS
As deforestation continues, the increase of global carbon emissions expands. Unmitigated deforestation in Indonesia alone is responsible for a third of global carbon emission.
VIOLATION OF HUMAN RIGHTS
People occupy the rain forests as well. In fact, approximately 45 million people occupy the Indonesia forests that are under threat, spawning massive displacement.
Source: The Rain Forest Site