Protecting habitats, preserving biodiversity
The cultivation criteria for sustainable palm oil include the objective of preserving fragile environments, particularly the last remaining intact ecosystems, such as primary forests, wetlands and, more generally, dense tropical forests. In moist tropical areas, these forests are precious reserves for the flora and fauna, and their ecosystems are also very important for humankind.
Preventing deforestation is one answer to ensuring the future of biodiversity hotspots and threatened species. Orangutans are one such species, the last populations of which amounted to 7,000 animals in Sumatra and between 45,000 and 70,000 in Borneo, Indonesia. The Sumatran tiger and Asian elephant are also affected, as their habitats are dwindling and their numbers dropping.
Tropical rainforests are essential to the survival of hundreds of millions of people who depend directly on their resources. But beyond their utility as a resource, these ecosystems also have inestimable worth to all humans: the water cycle, atmospheric circulation, medicines (most of the medicines we use are derived from active ingredients “discovered” in the tropical forests), etc.
Reversing the curve
Choosing environmentally friendly criteria for cultivating crops, including preservation of rainforests, is a tangible response to these threats. The French Alliance for Sustainable Palm Oil, by educating the various stakeholders, helps better protect this habitat.
Some of the world’s major producers and traders of palm oil have recently pledged to preserve the forests. This is a critical issue in Asia, but also in Africa, considered the “new frontier” of palm oil.
The commitment to sustainable oilcontributes to reversing the species extinction curve, meaning a loss of biodiversity, but also to reversing the curve of climate change (deforestation and peatland destruction is responsible for 15-20% of greenhouse gas emissions, more than all forms of transport combined).