Is Your Pantry Contributing to Deforestation?
Palm oil is one of the world’s leading vegetable oils. Numerous foods and household products in your home likely contain palm oil in some shape or form, especially packaged foods and hair products. While palm oil gives chocolate its shine and thickens nail polish, these qualities come at a price. Traditional palm oil production endangers species and harms the environment.
The Downfall of the Rainforest
Palm oil thrives in Indonesia and Malaysia’s tropical environments. However, its demand resulted in slash and burn removal of the thick rainforest to make room for the plantations. According to One Green Planet, up to 300 football fields of forest are chopped down and transformed into palm oil plantations each hour.
The Disappearance of Orangutans
As native forests disappear due to the demand for palm oil plantations, the survival of orangutans is jeopardized. The tree-dwelling mammals rely on the forest for shelter and food. Without the shelter and food they need, orangutans navigate palm oil plantations, which places them at risk of being hunted. In some territories, the orangutan population has decreased by 50 percent.
Orangutans are not the only species placed at risk by mass production of palm oil. The Sumatran tiger has been pushed out of its home in areas fragmented by deforestation. The tiger population continues to plummet as plantations increase in number.
Loss of Cameroon Wildlife
Additionally, the boom of palm oil demand in China has put wildlife in Cameroon at risk. Deforestation in that country has contributed to several species dying off from their traditional ranges.