World’s Largest Ecological Study on Palm Oil Deforestation Releases Five Year Review

GarryRogers Nature Conservation

Working with SAFE, climate scientist Stephen Hardwick found that palm oil plantations are on average 6.5 degrees Celsius hotter that primary (never logged) rainforest. This disparity means the difference between life and death for sensitive species like termites and earthworms that play a drastically important role in the rainforest ecosystem by controlling the rate at which things decompose. Even lightly logged forest was 2.5 degrees hotter than primary forests. In these forests, Hardwick found that the hotter it got, the more water trees used and the more vulnerable they became to droughts. This discovery casts doubt on the eco-friendliness of selective harvesting – a method of logging that in which only trees above a certain size are felled and which was previously perceived as sustainable.

“That doubt that was furthered by studies showing how the extra, unclaimed logs left behind in selective harvesting are actually doing harm to the environment…

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