Sarawak calls the lie on palm oil and orang utan extinction
Palm oil has often been accused of causing massive deforestation and threatening the extinction of the orang utan. Sarawak in Malaysia has not been spared, often accused in the same breath of indiscriminate land clearing and driving the orang utan to extinction.
Enough evidence has been proffered by this site as to the veracity of these allegations, in particular that of deforestation and impending orang utan extinction which have both been exposed as patently untrue.
For one, palm oil is clearly far and away, the most sustainable of oilseed crops. Blessed with exceptional productivity, palm oil enjoys an enviable yield of 4.5 metric tons per hectare planted which dwarfs its nearest competitors, such as soy, canola and sunflower which typical has a yield of 0.5 metric tons per hectare. Even the uninitiated can surmise that this means that palm oil requires far LESS land than its competitors to produce the same unit of edible oil.
This explains why Malaysia, which was erstwhile, the largest producer of palm oil, has cultivated the crop for more than a hundred years and STILL can boast forest cover exceeding 55% (the UK where most of the palm oil critics are based, pales by comparison in its permanent forest cover which currently stands at less than 11%)!
Moreover, oil palm cultivation in Malaysia represents only 0.09% of the world agricultural area. In the view of Palmhugger.org, surely such allegations of deforestation and climate change caused by palm oil ring hollow when these critics conveniently remain silent on the 99.91% cultivated land in the rest of the world.
The question has to be asked whether this is due to the fact that most of these 99.91% agricultural land resides in the developed economies from which these critics hail?
The allegation of palm oil endangering the orang utan to the extent of threatening their extinction certainly takes credulity to a new low. It raises the question whether these critics have done any fact checking as the orang utan population in the wild in Borneo is currently estimated at between 45,000 and 69,000.
Consequently, it behooves one to ask just how is it even remotely possible for the orang utan, by any leap of logic to be facing extinction. Rather than dwindling, there is evidence that the orang utan population in the wild is actually growing!
The recent discovery of more than 2,000 wild orang utans by scientists in Indonesian Borneo has left many environmentalists red faced, especially the Rainforest Action Network (RAN) which had predicted that the orang utan would go extinct by 2011 (just a mere 2 weeks away). The new find could well add 5 percent to the world's known orangutan numbers, said Erik Meijaard, senior ecologist for the Nature Conservancy in Indonesia.
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