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Environmental consequences of the palm oil industry in Malaysia

Århem, Klara (2011) In Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
There is a growing global demand for palm oil – a vegetable oil used in various products such as margarine and biofuel. Since 1961 the Malaysian palm oil production has experienced a 185-fold increase and currently Malaysia produces about 40 % of the world’s palm oil. Malaysia also has one of the world’s richest flora and fauna. The palm oil industry has gained much negative attention in recent years because of the many environmental problems associated with oil palm expansion and palm oil production. This thesis aims at identifying and describing the multiple environmental consequences of palm oil production in Malaysia with particular focus placed on land use change over the last few decades. The approach uses the DPSIR framework to... (More)
There is a growing global demand for palm oil – a vegetable oil used in various products such as margarine and biofuel. Since 1961 the Malaysian palm oil production has experienced a 185-fold increase and currently Malaysia produces about 40 % of the world’s palm oil. Malaysia also has one of the world’s richest flora and fauna. The palm oil industry has gained much negative attention in recent years because of the many environmental problems associated with oil palm expansion and palm oil production. This thesis aims at identifying and describing the multiple environmental consequences of palm oil production in Malaysia with particular focus placed on land use change over the last few decades. The approach uses the DPSIR framework to systematically address the environmental aspects. Drawn conclusions are that the growth of the palm oil industry is driven by various synergistic factors such as population growth, governmental policies and changed consumption patterns; and that the main environmental issue related to the palm oil industry is the land use conversion from forest to oil palm. Because of this conversion the palm oil industry contributes to biodiversity loss, soil degradation, water pollution and GHG emissions. Most emissions to the air are related to forest fires that emerge during the clearing of land before establishing a plantation. Measures have been taken to prevent further loss of forests and to reduce pollution. These measures are, however, insufficient. Disagreement concerning what is to be considered areas of high (ecological) conservation value and what is to be classified as forest and non-forest aggravates a sustainable palm oil development. There seems to be an urgent need for comprehensive land use cover maps that detect areas of ecological importance. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Palmolja finns numer i en rad olika produkter, från margarin till biobränsle, och den globala efterfrågan på palmolja ökar år för år. I Malaysia har produktionen av palmolja ökat mer än 185 gånger sedan år 1961 och idag producerar landet omkring 40 % av världens palmolja. Den enorma tillväxten drivs av bland annat populationsökning, förändrade konsumtionsvanor samt policys som syftar till att öka Malaysias ekonomiska självständighet och minska fattigdom. Det hävdas ofta att palmoljeindustrin har skadliga effekter på ekosystem i tropikerna. Syftet med denna uppsats är att redogöra för palmoljeproduktionens miljörelaterade konsekvenser. Konvertering av regnskog till oljepalmsplantager medför en förlust av värdefulla habitat, i synnerhet i... (More)
Palmolja finns numer i en rad olika produkter, från margarin till biobränsle, och den globala efterfrågan på palmolja ökar år för år. I Malaysia har produktionen av palmolja ökat mer än 185 gånger sedan år 1961 och idag producerar landet omkring 40 % av världens palmolja. Den enorma tillväxten drivs av bland annat populationsökning, förändrade konsumtionsvanor samt policys som syftar till att öka Malaysias ekonomiska självständighet och minska fattigdom. Det hävdas ofta att palmoljeindustrin har skadliga effekter på ekosystem i tropikerna. Syftet med denna uppsats är att redogöra för palmoljeproduktionens miljörelaterade konsekvenser. Konvertering av regnskog till oljepalmsplantager medför en förlust av värdefulla habitat, i synnerhet i Malaysia där biodiversiteten är hög. Dessutom medför utbredandet av oljepalmsplantager ökad erosion vilket leder till sedimentation och övergödning i närliggande vatten. Den tropiska regnskogen utgör en enorm kolsänka, eftersom oljepalmplantager lagrar mindre kol per hektar orsakar markomvandling från skog till oljepalm en nettoförlust av bundet kol; och alltså mer koldioxid till atmosfären. I samband med inrättandet av nya oljepalmsplantager bränns ofta marken, i de fall då elden sprider sig ökar koldioxidutsläppen ännu mer. För att förhindra de palmoljerelaterade negativa miljökonsekvenserna har vissa områden skyddats från avskogning och utsläpp av vissa giftiga ämnen har förbjudits. Dessvärre råder det delade meningar om vilka områden som bör skyddas och därför fortsätter vissa skyddsvärda områden att omvandlas till palmolja. Den statistik som rör markomvandlingen är ofta bristfällig och det tycks finnas ett stort behov av mer aktuell data för att i framtiden kunna planera för ett hållbart marknyttjande. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Århem, Klara
supervisor
organization
alternative title
Miljökonsekvenser av palmoljeindustrin i Malaysia
year
type
M2 - Bachelor Degree
subject
keywords
physical geography, palm oil, land use conversion, biodiversity, pollution, naturgeografi, palmolja, markomvandling, biodiversitet, föroreningar
publication/series
Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser
report number
216
language
English
id
2155833
date added to LUP
2011-09-12 07:34:05
date last changed
2011-12-28 14:28:22
@misc{2155833,
  abstract     = {There is a growing global demand for palm oil – a vegetable oil used in various products such as margarine and biofuel. Since 1961 the Malaysian palm oil production has experienced a 185-fold increase and currently Malaysia produces about 40 % of the world’s palm oil. Malaysia also has one of the world’s richest flora and fauna. The palm oil industry has gained much negative attention in recent years because of the many environmental problems associated with oil palm expansion and palm oil production. This thesis aims at identifying and describing the multiple environmental consequences of palm oil production in Malaysia with particular focus placed on land use change over the last few decades. The approach uses the DPSIR framework to systematically address the environmental aspects. Drawn conclusions are that the growth of the palm oil industry is driven by various synergistic factors such as population growth, governmental policies and changed consumption patterns; and that the main environmental issue related to the palm oil industry is the land use conversion from forest to oil palm. Because of this conversion the palm oil industry contributes to biodiversity loss, soil degradation, water pollution and GHG emissions. Most emissions to the air are related to forest fires that emerge during the clearing of land before establishing a plantation. Measures have been taken to prevent further loss of forests and to reduce pollution. These measures are, however, insufficient. Disagreement concerning what is to be considered areas of high (ecological) conservation value and what is to be classified as forest and non-forest aggravates a sustainable palm oil development. There seems to be an urgent need for comprehensive land use cover maps that detect areas of ecological importance.},
  author       = {Århem, Klara},
  keyword      = {physical geography,palm oil,land use conversion,biodiversity,pollution,naturgeografi,palmolja,markomvandling,biodiversitet,föroreningar},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Lunds universitets Naturgeografiska institution - Seminarieuppsatser},
  title        = {Environmental consequences of the palm oil industry in Malaysia},
  year         = {2011},
}