Editor's Summary

30 August 2007

Farming with the enemy

The growing popularity of palm oil as a cooking oil, in manufactured foods and as a biofuel has been condemned by some conservationists. Large areas of rainforest are being given over to palms in Malaysia and Indonesia, with an appreciable loss in biodiversity. Yet the high yield and high prices that make this crop so attractive could be turned to a biodiversity advantage. Lian Pin Koh and David Wilcove suggest that campaigning groups could buy small tracts of existing oil palm plantations, and use the revenue they generate to establish a network of privately owned nature reserves.

CommentaryCashing in palm oil for conservation

Tropical forests in southeast Asia are under threat from oil-palm growers. This is an opportunity to combine sustainable economic growth with biodiversity conservation, argue Lian Pin Koh and David S. Wilcove.