Navigating the Path to Sustainable Oil Palm Cultivation: Addressing Nexus Challenges and Solutions
CREA, Research Centre for Agricultural Policies and Bioeconomy, Via Barberini 36, 00187 Rome, Italy
Received: 4 April 2023; Received in revised form: 10 May 2023; Accepted: 15 May 2023; Published: 22 May 2023
Copyright © 2023 The author(s). Published by Nan Yang Academy of Sciences Pte. Ltd.
This is an open access article under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0) License.
Global palm oil demand for energy, food, and chemical uses has led to a rapid expansion of tree plantations in Southeast Asia, Central Africa, Latin America and the Caribbean. This oil tree is the world’s most productive, highly profitable and traded vegetable oil crop, and the demand is expected to increase further in the near future. Nevertheless, oil palm expansion involves risks and nexus challenges. This work supports the idea that disruptive farming intensification, instead of land expansion, could scale up productivity, reducing the anthropogenic pressure on tropical forests and biodiversity losses. Findings from recent studies suggest that there is considerable scope for further yield improvements per hectare of palm oil with sustainable agronomic practices and farming intensification. Smallholder producers, agribusiness investors, civil society actors, NGOs, governments, researchers, and industry should make coordinated efforts with regulatory and support schemes and landscape design to increase yield and productivity with sustainable management practices and to achieve zero deforestation by protecting ecosystems.
Keywords: Land-use changes, Ecosystem services, Sustainable intensification, Deforestation, Tree plantations
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