Girl Planting seeds

When grown right, palm oil can be sustainable

Turning an abandoned pasture into a palm tree plantation can be carbon neutral, according to a new study by EPFL and the Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research (WSL). These findings, based on measurements of 56-year-old palm tree plantations in Colombia, suggest we may be able to find sustainable alternatives to deforestation for the production of palm oil—a practice currently under fire by environmentalists.  Scientists from EPFL and WSL have been studying soils in oil palm cultivation for years, in an effort to develop more sustainable methods for growing this crop. Palm oil production has been criticized by environmentalists because of its large carbon footprint and negative impact on biodiversity. For instance, in Indonesia and Malaysia—the world's two biggest producers—it has directly or indirectly caused large-scale deforestation, thereby reducing biodiversity and releasing significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. And planting oil palm trees in the deforested areas does not make up for the lost carbon storage capacity, according to a 2018 study carried out by EPFL and WSL.  Read more.....



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