But… it makes such lovely biodiesel
Eleven top scientists have slammed a proposed palm oil plantation in a Cameroonian rainforest surrounded by five protected areas. In an open letter, the researchers allege that Herakles Farm, which proposes the 70,000 hectare plantation in southwest Cameroon, has misled the government about the state of the forest to be cleared and has violated rules set by the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), of which it’s a member. The scientists, many of whom are considered leaders in their field, argue that the plantation will destroy rich forests, imperil endangered species, and sow conflict with local people.
“You can’t just cut the heart out of this area and then expect everything to be fine,” says signatory Thomas Struhsaker, an expert on African primates and rainforest ecology at Duke University. “If this project proceeds the parks will become islands, surrounded by a hostile sea of oil palm.”
The scientists say they are not against palm oil plantations in principle. While the oilseed is the world’s most productive, it has come with a considerable ecological cost in Southeast Asia due to its link to deforestation in the region. Recently, the expansion has spread to Latin America and West Africa.