Palm Oil – Low or High Yield?

It has been said that high-yield palm oil plantations minimize the amount of deforestation, however a recent article published by ‘Environmentalresearchweb’ suggests that this is in fact incorrect. Instead they claim that a study has revealed data which shows that high-yield farming of palm oil actually increases the amount of deforestation than that required for low-yield farming techniques.

A study in the area of the Ucayali region showed that palm oil plantation expansion was 102.3 square km between the years of 2000-2010, of which 80% was due to low-yield plantations. What’s interesting is that only 30% of these low-yield plantations were actually due to forest conversion, compared to a huge 75% of the high-yield plantations. The team then calculated that if this entire palm oil plantation expansion area was high-yield plantations, then 64% less land would  have been required to produce the same amount of crop. However instead a 58% larger area of forest would have been destroyed as a result.

Why is this you ask? The reason is believed to be due to high-yield palm oil farm techniques usually being done by private companies, who have the capital to afford land which hasn’t been cleared in the past. However low-yield farmers usually work as individuals and as a result can’t afford these expensive regions of land, and instead purchase local land-tenure areas.

From this interesting article it’s safe to say that maybe more higher-yield plantations isn’t the way to go, however lower-yield plantations end up using larger amounts of land. Hopefully a balance will be struck, as the issue of forest destruction is one which must be taken seriously.



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