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New figures: palm oil destroys Malaysia’s peatswamp forests faster than ever
An increasing part of Malaysia’s palm oil is produced at the account of huge areas of tropical peatswamp forests. Especially in the Malaysian state of Sarawak, expansion of oil palm plantations may lead to the complete loss of these vast, unique forests by the end of this decade. This is shown by new figures from Wetlands International and Sarvision.
Palm oil and deforestation in Sarawak
Malaysia takes care of 45% of the world’s rapidly expanding palm oil production. As Peninsular Malaysia provides little room for expansion, new palm oil plantations in Malaysia are almost all established in the State of Sarawak on Borneo; especially in forest areas.
Two thirds of Sarawak’s peatlands were until recently covered by thick, biodiversity-rich rainforest. Between 2005-2010 almost 353,000 hectare of the one million hectare peatswamp forests were opened up at high speed; largely for palm oil production. In just 5 years time, almost 10% of all Sarawak’s forests and 33% of the peatswamp forests have been cleared. Of this, 65% was for conversion to palm oil production.
Marcel Silvius, Wetlands International: “As the timber resource has been depleted the timber companies are now engaging in the oil palm business, completing the annihilation of Sarawak’s peat swamp forests.”
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