European researchers say African expansion of palm oil could impact primates

August 16, 2018 |

In Italy, future expansion of the palm oil industry could have a dramatic impact on African primates, according to the findings of a new study led by the European Joint Research Centre, the European Commission’s science and knowledge service. The study has been published today in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Scientists found only a few small ‘areas of compromise’ in Africa with a high suitability for oil palm cultivation and a low potential impact on the primate species living there.

These areas totaled 0.13 million hectares (Mha), which is less than 0.005 % of the total land mass of the African continent.

Even when taking into account all areas with at least minimum suitability to grow the plants from which palm oil is extracted, just 3.3 Mha of land is available to produce the oil without endangering primate populations. This amounts to only 6.2% of the 53Mha that would be required to cope with rising palm oil demand by 2050.

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Category: Research

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