Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore are countries directly involved in palm trees plantation and palm oil production in Indonesia and Malaysia.
The palm plantations owners in Indonesia have now been accused of burning palm plantations ahead of the new season of palm tree growth.
The haze has blanketed Malaysia, Singapore and of course, Indonesia with a rapid deterioration of air quality this month. Malaysia and Indonesia are the worst hit and anti-palm oil lobbyists say that palm oil producers are directly responsible for the fires that are causing the haze.
A research firm in Indonesia says data from 2000 to 2018 show that the palm oil industry was responsible for at least 39% of forest loss on the biodiversity-rich island of Borneo.The firm released the data as smog blanketed the region.
According to data from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Borneo lost 6.3 million hectares (15 million acres) of forest cover between 2000 and 2018.
Palm oil companies accounted for about 2.4 million hectares (6 million acres) of the loss while pulpwood firms accounted for 461,319 hectares (1.1 million acres).
Palm oil was responsible for 35% of forest loss in the Indonesian part of Borneo, and 46% on the Malaysian side.
Indonesia and Malaysia produce about 85% of the world’s palm oil, which is used in everything from soaps to lipstick, pizza and biodiesel.
CIFOR determined the amount of deforestation caused by companies by calculating the area of forest cleared and converted to industrial plantations within the same year.
Reuters reported that a spokeswoman for Malaysia’s ministry in charge of palm oil said the government had adopted policies to cap the oil palm cultivation area at 6.5 million hectares (16 million acres).
The country’s total area that has been planted with oil palm amounted to about 5.8 million hectares (14 million acres) by 2018.
The government also plans to end conversion of forest reserves to palm oil plantations, the spokeswoman said. -/TISG