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Old 09-18-2009, 01:24 PM   #1
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Default Biofuels And Biodiversity Don't Mix, Ecologists Warn

Biofuels And Biodiversity Don't Mix, Ecologists Warn

ScienceDaily (July 10, 2008) — Rising demand for palm oil will decimate biodiversity unless producers and politicians can work together to preserve as much remaining natural forest as possible, ecologists have warned. A new study of the potential ecological impact of various management strategies found that very little can be done to make palm oil plantations more hospitable for local birds and butterflies. The findings have major implications for the booming market in biofuels and its impact on biodiversity.

Biofuels And Biodiversity Don't Mix, Ecologists Warn
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According to Dr Koh: "Rapid expansion of oil palm agriculture onto forested lands, even logged forests, poses a significant threat to biodiversity. This study shows that to maximise biodiversity in oil palm plantations, the industry and local governments should work together to preserve as much of the remaining natural forest as possible, for example by creating forest buffer zones around oil palm estates or protecting remaining patches of forest. Even then, the industry's impact on biodiversity is enormous."

The study is particularly important because it comes at time when rising demand for both food and biofuels is putting mounting pressure on biodiversity. "The rapid expansion of oil palm agriculture in Southeast Asia raises serious concerns about its potential impact on the region's biodiversity. Unless future expansion of oil palm agriculture is regulated, rising global demand is likely to exacerbate the high rates of forest conversion in major oil palm-producing countries," says Dr Koh.
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