tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:/xml/palm_oil1 palm oil news from mongabay.com 2015-03-26T20:02:58Z tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14540 2015-03-26T19:21:00Z 2015-03-26T20:02:58Z Why palm oil expanded, and what keeps it growing <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0326pdxn150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Today, oil palm is Indonesia’s most important cash crop. In 2014, Indonesia produced 33.5 million tons of palm oil, generating $18.9 billion in export revenue. This makes palm oil Indonesia’s third most valuable export, behind only coal and petroleum gas. However, the rise of Indonesian palm oil is only a relatively recent phenomenon. The chart below shows the remarkable growth that the industry has displayed over the past 30 years. Rhett Butler -2.705168 114.378027 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14511 2015-03-19T15:22:00Z 2015-03-19T15:38:03Z Riau misses deadline on 'village forest' project as zoning deadlock continues <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1041.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A pair of local communities' five-year slog to establish village forest management areas in Riau is the latest victim of a deadlock over the Indonesian province's proposed zoning plan, whose long delay has been further exacerbated by the governor's arrest in a bribery case. Rhett Butler 0.587034 102.991596 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14509 2015-03-19T01:12:00Z 2015-03-19T01:23:53Z Who's funding palm oil? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0319sabah_0587x150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Palm oil may be the single most important crop that you never heard of. A vegetable fat that resembles reddish butter at room temperature, palm oil is derived from the fruit of the oil palm tree. Both nutritious and highly versatile, palm oil is now an important component of products ranging from biofuels and food to soaps and cosmetics. Estimates indicate that as much as 50 percent of the products used by the average Western consumer every day contain palm oil or its derivatives. Rhett Butler -1.687367 112.950424 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14503 2015-03-17T17:15:00Z 2015-03-17T17:29:34Z Can voluntary sustainability standards survive in emerging markets? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1223-thumb-aceh_0853.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last month, Price Waterhouse Coopers (PwC) published a new edition of its The World in 2050 report. Confirming the findings of previous studies, the report describes a shift in economic power from the global north to the south. PwC projects that the US' and EU's share of world GDP will face a steady decline from around 33 percent in 2014 to about 25 percent by 2050. At the same time, emerging markets like China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey (the so-called E7 countries) are gaining in importance as both producers and consumers in the global economy. Brittany Stewart tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14500 2015-03-16T23:28:00Z 2015-03-17T00:25:22Z Declining palm oil prices: Good news and bad news for smallholders <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/cr/150/costa_rica_aerial_0210.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Declining crop prices usually spell bad news for farmers, and poor smallholders in particular. The drop in the price of palm oil from a recent high of US$860 per metric ton in March 2014 to below US$640 in March 2015 (and far below 2010-2012 prices which exceeded US$1000) heralds a shift in perceptions of oil palm from an economic boon to poverty-stricken smallholders, to a liability that ties small-scale farmers to a less profitable commodity. Rhett Butler 1.733095 -78.794792 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14483 2015-03-12T00:58:00Z 2015-03-12T00:59:02Z Local land rights may be in danger from push for palm oil in Liberia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_0035.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The rights of local and indigenous peoples aren’t being adequately protected in the drive for economic development, according to a report published in February by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a coalition of forest-oriented organizations. For a place like Liberia, reeling from both decades of persistent poverty and the recent Ebola epidemic, economic development seems critical at just about any cost. Morgan Erickson-Davis 5.294388 -9.130614 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14472 2015-03-10T18:49:00Z 2015-03-10T18:54:12Z Palm oil giant buys PNG firm noted for environmental practices Malaysian palm oil giant Sime Darby Plantation Bhd has completed its acquisition New Britain Palm Oil Ltd, a Papua New Guinea-based grower lauded by environmentalists for its green policies. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14463 2015-03-06T17:55:00Z 2015-03-06T18:04:06Z East Kalimantan reaffirms moratorium on new mining, logging concessions The governor of East Kalimantan, Indonesia, has reaffirmed his commitment to a 2013 moratorium on mining, logging, and plantation permits. The policy, which was originally outlined in a letter to the province's regents and mayors will be elevated to a higher status, he said. Rhett Butler -0.480325 117.072723 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14458 2015-03-05T19:17:00Z 2015-03-05T19:31:40Z Palm oil certification body purges membership <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_0828.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has purged membership of a number of companies and organizations that have failed to comply with reporting requirements. The move could be a sign that the certification body is getting more serious about enforcing its standards, says WWF, one of the founders of the initiative. Rhett Butler 5.255841 118.976907 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14442 2015-02-27T19:36:00Z 2015-02-27T19:44:11Z Weak sustainability policy presents financial risk for Malaysian palm oil giant, says report Malaysian palm oil producer Kuala Lumpur Kepong's failure to adopt a robust zero deforestation policy puts its financial performance at risk, asserts a new analysis published by Chain Reaction Research, a project involving several environmental consultancies. Rhett Butler -2.757833 108.139253 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14441 2015-02-27T18:06:00Z 2015-02-27T19:31:38Z Biofuels are bad news for forests, climate, food security, says report <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/malaysia/150/borneo_4665.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new report from the World Resources Institute finds that dedicating land to the production of biofuels, a form of renewable energy made from plants, may undermine efforts to achieve a sustainable food future, combat climate change, and protect forests. Morgan Erickson-Davis -8.497720 -63.127501 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14436 2015-02-26T19:25:00Z 2015-02-27T05:37:03Z Jokowi's environmental commitments in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/indonesia-java/150/java_0456.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last fall Indonesia elected its first president with no ties to the established political order or the military. Joko Widodo's election was widely heralded by reformers who hoped the politician's capable management in his stints as mayor of the town of Solo and metropolis of Jakarta could transform Indonesia's chronically underperforming bureaucracy, potentially ushering in a new era of improved human rights, better environmental stewardship, reduced corruption, and healthier economic growth. Rhett Butler -6.659257 106.131028 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14415 2015-02-23T23:35:00Z 2015-03-16T23:28:16Z New Guinea rainforest being leveled for palm oil, revealing gaps in zero deforestation pacts <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0223ANJ_RSPO_WILMAR-POLICY_2FEB2015_BY_GREENOMICS150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>An Indonesian palm oil firm is destroying rainforests in New Guinea despite high profile zero deforestation pledges from its customers, finds research by Greenomics-Indonesia. Landsat imagery acquired and analyzed by Greenomics shows that Austindo Nusantara Jaya Agri (ANJ) is clearing high carbon stock forests in the southern part of West Papua's Bird's Head Peninsula in Indonesian New Guinea. Rhett Butler -1.807874 132.433094 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14404 2015-02-20T18:39:00Z 2015-02-20T18:41:00Z Scientists sound the alarm on African palm oil investment <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/images/uganda/150/ug3-3760.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Africa’s people, forests and wildlife are in trouble if the mostly unbridled expansion of oil palm in West and Central Africa is allowed to continue unchecked, says an organization of African scientists. Morgan Erickson-Davis 4.846424 12.366558 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14390 2015-02-17T23:38:00Z 2015-03-16T23:28:25Z Indonesia to squander fuel savings on biofuel subsidies that may drive deforestation, say groups <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/africa/150/congo_0021.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Instead of wisely investing the windfall generated by cutting petrol subsidies, Indonesia is poised to squander funds by increasing subsidies for biofuel production that could exacerbate social conflict and drive deforestation, warn environmental groups. Rhett Butler -1.639488 103.493185 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14367 2015-02-11T00:54:00Z 2015-02-11T02:02:35Z Ranking the best and worst companies in terms of deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1186.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>While a number of high profile companies have adopted policies designed to exclude deforestation from their commodity supply chains, such commitments remain outside the norm, indicating that most companies still lack forest-friendly safeguards, finds a comprehensive survey conducted by the Global Canopy Programme. The assessment ranks 250 companies, 50 jurisdictions, 150 banks and investors, and 50 'powerbrokers' by the extent and scope of their souring policies for six 'forest risk commodities': soy palm oil, beef, leather, timber, pulp and paper. Rhett Butler -12.137512 -57.060600 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14363 2015-02-09T17:26:00Z 2015-02-20T15:10:29Z Norway sovereign fund drops coal, tar sands, gold-mining companies In its first-ever report on responsible investing, Norway's pension fund announced last week that it has divested from 114 companies in the past three years due to concerns over global warming, deforestation, and sustainability as well as long-term financial viability. Worth a staggering $861 billion, Norway's Government Pension Fund Global (GPFG) is the world's largest sovereign wealth fund. Jeremy Hance 59.912277 10.764517 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14337 2015-02-03T19:02:00Z 2015-02-03T23:10:03Z Palm oil major makes deforestation-free commitment IOI Corporation officially committed to what its subsidiary, palm oil trader IOI Loders Croklaan, pledged last November: it will no longer source palm oil linked to deforestation and human rights abuses. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14326 2015-01-30T17:48:00Z 2015-02-02T19:57:27Z After 10 years vying for protection, Kalimantan community granted legal rights to community forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0130-thumb-Jernih-Setulang-2.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Perseverance, respect for their ancestors, and a knowledge that the clearing of the forest will result in environmental disaster for them have all helped the community remain solidified in their resistance. Instead of selling out, they created a Tana' Ulen, or community forest. Morgan Erickson-Davis 3.424825 116.429937 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14324 2015-01-29T20:08:00Z 2015-01-29T20:13:17Z When is a forest a forest? How definitions affect monitoring <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/colombia/150/colombia_4621.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>What exactly is a forest? With forest definitions differing from country to country, and primary forests, secondary forests, and even tree plantations all perceived collectively as "tree cover" by satellite data, how does one accurately keep tabs on land changes? Morgan Erickson-Davis 5.5768616 117.3028865 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14319 2015-01-28T22:41:00Z 2015-01-29T20:11:54Z Radical transparency: tracking deforestation through satellite imagery <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0128-thumb-indo-clearing-butler.png" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Floating softly through the vacuum of space, the Landsat 7 satellite has faithfully provided imaging of the entirety of earth’s surface, every 16 days, since 1999. Now a series of technological developments has made this silent spectator a dominant force in tracking forests worldwide. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.621516 100.049201 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14312 2015-01-27T19:00:00Z 2015-01-27T19:39:15Z Deforestation may be ramping up in Papua, West Papua <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/papua/150/papua_0827.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Despite being covered in commodity concessions and becoming a focal point for the Indonesian government’s palm oil development in the country’s eastern half, the provinces of Papua and West Papua have, rather mysteriously, recorded very low deforestation rates compared to the rest of the archipelago. However, emerging data, reports, and photos suggest the region's forest loss may be escalating. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.600926 140.490036 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14294 2015-01-22T14:22:00Z 2015-01-22T14:36:41Z Palm oil giant launches online platform to support zero deforestation push <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0122KencanaAgri150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Wilmar, the world's largest palm oil company, has unveiled a tool it says will help eliminate deforestation from its global supply chain. The tool is an online dashboard that maps the company's supply chain, including the names of locations of its refineries and supplier mills. Rhett Butler 0.729198 121.270847 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14280 2015-01-19T22:55:00Z 2015-01-22T22:56:21Z High deforestation rates in Malaysian states hit by flooding <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0119kemaman150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Five states hard hit by flooding last month in Malaysia had high rates of forest loss in recent years, bolstering assertions that environmental degradation may have worsened the disaster. According to satellite data from researchers led by the University of Maryland's Matt Hansen and displayed on Global Forest Watch, the states of Johor, Kelantan, Pahang, Perak, and Terengganu each lost more than 10 percent of their forest cover between 2001 and 2012. Loss was greatest in areas with dense tree cover. Rhett Butler 4.270459 103.178102 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14274 2015-01-18T23:29:00Z 2015-01-20T15:54:56Z Fake Doritos ad pressures Pepsi over palm oil policy <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0118doritos150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A dispute between environmentalists and PepsiCo over the food company's palm oil sourcing policy is escalating after activists released a video spoofing the Doritos Super Bowl campaign. Earlier this month SumofUs.org posted a clip stating that PepsiCo's current palm oil policy fails to exclude deforestation from its supply chain, meaning that Pepsi products like Doritos could be contributing to the destruction of rainforests in Malaysia and Indonesia. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14270 2015-01-16T17:50:00Z 2015-01-20T17:40:01Z Sulawesi village seeks protection for sacred forest threatened by development <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0116-thumb-Cerekang5.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Home to some 400 fishermen, Manurung village appears unremarkable at first glance: quiet houses along a winding river lined with boats. However, behind the village lies something remarkable: a tract of old-growth forest nearly untouched by human exploitation. Pensimoni Hill stands as a rare outpost of towering trees rising above freshwater springs that provide clean water and life for the villages below. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.598748 121.206665 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14245 2015-01-08T21:50:00Z 2015-01-12T20:12:56Z Indonesia to weaken peatlands protection to support plantations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_0154.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry has announced it will further hobble its peatlands protection law to allow plantations to continue operating on a business as usual basis. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14217 2015-01-06T05:06:00Z 2015-01-06T05:13:48Z Half of Indonesia's deforestation occurs outside concession areas <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/15/0106-indonesia-forest-loss-concession150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Roughly half of Indonesia's natural forest loss occurs outside officially designated concession areas, concludes a new assessment that also finds higher deforestation rates in places with worse forest governance scores. The report, released last month by Forest Watch Indonesia, is based on analysis of satellite data spanning the archipelago. Unlike assessments by the Ministry of Forestry, the data includes areas outside the 'forest estate'. Rhett Butler 0.749575 121.290790 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14214 2015-01-05T15:38:00Z 2015-01-05T15:56:55Z Featured video: new documentary highlights 'Sumatra Burning' A new half-hour documentary investigate the impact of the palm oil industry in Indonesia, including burning forests and peatlands as well as haze spreading across Indonesian borders. Entitled Sumatra Burning, the documentary explores palm oil production on the island of Sumatra, which is experiencing some of the highest deforestation rates on the planet. Jeremy Hance 0.394984 101.370236 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14213 2015-01-02T17:28:00Z 2015-02-26T19:44:17Z Rainforests: 10 things to watch in 2015 <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_aerial_2477.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>2014 was a landmark year for tropical rainforests</a>, with dozens of major companies committing to eliminating deforestation from their supply chains, the launch of new platforms for monitoring forests, and sharp drop in clearing in the Brazilian Amazon, among other big developments. Here's a quick look ahead at what might be in store for tropical forests in 2015. Rhett Butler -1.414087 -76.659226 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14208 2014-12-30T19:40:00Z 2015-01-10T02:17:03Z 2014: the year in rainforests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/YIR-sabah_sepilok_0390_150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>2014 could be classified as 'The Year of the Zero Deforestation Commitment'. During 2014, nearly two dozen major companies, ranging from palm oil producers to fast food chains to toothpaste makers, established policies to exclude palm oil sourced at the expense of rainforests and peatlands. Rhett Butler 2.864823 17.489353 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14198 2014-12-26T14:51:00Z 2014-12-26T15:00:10Z Connecting the Dots: from Christmas Cookies to Climate Change <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1226ford150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Harrison Ford checking out everyday products to see which ones contain palm oil. Not exactly the high-octane activity we associate with an adventurer like Ford…so what gives? Ford cares about the ingredients used to make these products because our high demand for these everyday consumer goods is directly tied to high rates of deforestation and climate change. He was in the frozen food aisle to find out just how prevalent palm oil is in our food supply. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14192 2014-12-23T22:24:00Z 2014-12-23T22:27:50Z Palawan palm oil presence likely to grow, industry rep denies harmful impact <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1223-thumb-peacock-pheasant-danta-alighieri.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Plans to convert eight million hectares of land for palm oil production on Palawan island in the Philippines have been met with opposition from environmental and social advocacy groups, with a petition to cease development sent to the United Nations Commission on Human Rights by an anti-palm oil expansion group. But an industry representative denies claims that all eight million hectares will be cultivated to the detriment of wildlife and human communities, maintaining palm oil expansion will be beneficial to the people of Palawan. Morgan Erickson-Davis 8.989710 117.903717 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14191 2014-12-23T22:23:00Z 2015-01-05T05:43:58Z Advocacy group lashes out against palm oil expansion on Philippine island <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1223-thumb-aceh_0853.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In the first week of November, an anti-oil palm expansion group sent a copy of their petition to the Special Rapporteur on the Rights of the Indigenous People for the United Nations Commission on Human Rights hoping to elevate their concerns over land-grabbing issues faced by tribes in Palawan, Philippines, due to planned palm oil expansion in the province. Morgan Erickson-Davis 8.989710 117.903717 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14187 2014-12-23T06:53:00Z 2015-01-12T20:18:25Z Child labor and palm oil in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1223Bimo1-siswa-kelas-3-SMP-di-Asahan-ini-terpaksa-membantu-ayahnya-menjadi-pengangkut-buah-sawit-Ayat-S-Karokaro150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Meet Bimo Kencana Arief. At 13 years old, this Indonesian middle school student is not spending his afternoons doing homework, helping around the house, or getting into trouble with the neighborhood children. Instead, Bimo is working up a sweat, hauling heavy oil palm fruits from the trees to a waiting truck. If he moves quickly, he can help his father earn up to $2 between 3:00 pm and dark. Rhett Butler 2.953174 99.500841 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14186 2014-12-22T23:26:00Z 2014-12-23T00:46:32Z Greenpeace: zero deforestation pioneer makes progress, but still has work to do <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1222gar150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Half a decade ago, Golden-Agri Resources (GAR) was losing customers right and left in the midst of a Greenpeace campaign that blamed the Singapore-based palm oil giant for destroying forests in Indonesia. Then in February 2011, GAR surprised the world when it announced it would no longer clear rainforests or peatlands for new plantations. The company also committed to resolving social conflicts and respecting the right of local communities to reject plantation development on their traditional lands. Observers thought it could be mark the beginning a transformation in how palm oil was produced. Rhett Butler -1.890421 112.528001 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14177 2014-12-19T21:49:00Z 2014-12-19T22:05:10Z 125M ha of degraded lands identified for forest-friendly agricultural expansion <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1219-land-suitability-map150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A team of researchers has identified 125 million hectares (309 million acres) of land suitable for agricultural expansion that won't come at the expense of tropical forests. The study argues that shifting agricultural expansion away from forests to these 'degraded lands' would avoid 13 billion tons of carbon dioxide emissions that would be released were they converted for plantations, pasture, and croplands. Rhett Butler -3.376340 119.635613 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14159 2014-12-16T05:40:00Z 2014-12-16T05:47:25Z Palm oil facilitates large-scale illegal logging in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/indonesia/150/kalteng_0072.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Development of oil palm plantations is providing cover for large-scale illegal logging in Indonesian Borneo, driving destruction of some of the island's most biodiverse forests and undermining efforts to reform the country's forestry sector, alleges a new report published by the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA). Rhett Butler -1.476897 113.648916 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14149 2014-12-12T20:19:00Z 2014-12-12T20:51:24Z EU adopts law mandating palm oil labeling on food products Tomorrow the European Union will begin enforcing legislation that mandates labeling of specific vegetable oils on food products. The move means consumers will soon know whether the products they consume contain palm oil, canola, or one of many other sources of plant-based fat. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14118 2014-12-05T06:40:00Z 2014-12-05T19:11:59Z A landmark year for forests (commentary) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1205-kellogg-palm-oil-rally150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>About one year ago today, I was pretty down. It was Thanksgiving night, and the Forest Heroes campaign, which I chair, had been running a big global campaign to persuade Wilmar International, Asia’s largest agribusiness company, to eliminate deforestation and human rights abuse throughout its enormous supply chain. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14117 2014-12-05T04:56:00Z 2014-12-05T05:10:34Z Tradeoff: Sabah banks on palm oil to boost forest protection <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_1413.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Last month Sabah set aside an additional 203,000 hectares of protected forest reserves, boosting the Malaysian state's extent of protected areas to 21 percent of its land mass. But instead of accolades, Sabah forestry leaders were criticized for how they went about securing those reserves: allowing thousands of hectares of deforested land within an officially designated forestry area to be converted for oil palm plantations Rhett Butler 4.471707 117.439298 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14114 2014-12-04T19:42:00Z 2014-12-04T19:46:55Z Musim Mas says its palm oil will be deforestation-free <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_2207.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Singapore-based Musim Mas has established a new sustainability policy that it says will eliminate deforestation, peatlands conversion, and social conflict from its palm oil supply chain. The company, which operates plantations in Sumatra and Indonesian Borneo, has been under pressure from environmentalists to join a growing number of palm oil producers and traders that have made zero deforestation pledges. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14102 2014-12-02T23:12:00Z 2014-12-02T23:51:18Z Embattled palm oil giant announces sustainability policy, but fails to win over critics Malaysian palm oil giant Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) has joined a growing list of companies committing to zero deforestation for commodity production. Rhett Butler 0.755443 101.186556 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14091 2014-11-30T03:12:00Z 2014-12-01T03:15:53Z Indonesia to audit licenses of palm oil companies that clear peatlands <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1373.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>New Indonesian president Joko Widodo has ordered the Ministry of Environment and Forestry to review licenses for companies that have converted peatlands for oil palm plantations, reports <i>Antara</i>. Jokowi, as the president is popularly known, announced the move after a visit last week to Sungai Tohor, a community in Riau that has been particularly affected by peatlands degradation and haze caused by fires set for land clearing. Rhett Butler 0.861708 102.920555 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14062 2014-11-24T03:05:00Z 2014-11-24T03:28:01Z Sarawak chief calls state's logging industry 'corrupt' In a surprising statement, Sarawak's new chief minister called the state's logging sector 'corrupt'. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14058 2014-11-21T21:09:00Z 2014-11-21T21:10:22Z IKEA commits to zero deforestation palm oil Home products giant IKEA has made a time-bound commitment for eliminating palm oil linked to deforestation and human rights abuses from its supply chain. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14057 2014-11-21T17:57:00Z 2014-11-21T18:03:21Z Indonesia's anti-corruption agency questions former Minster of Forestry Indonesia's Corruption Eradication Commission (KPK) questioned the former Minister of Forestry about his role in altering zoning to facilitate oil palm expansion into public lands. The case centers around Riau Governor Annas Maamun, who allegedly accepted bribes to convert an area's status from 'production forest' into 'non-forested land'. Rhett Butler 0.494379 101.500969 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14055 2014-11-20T23:36:00Z 2014-11-24T03:28:29Z Ranking the world's best - and worst - palm oil companies in terms of sustainability <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1120-opp-out150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new initiative ranks the world's 25 largest publicly listed palm oil companies in terms of transparency around the environmental performance of their operations. The project, called Sustainable Palm Oil Transparency Toolkit, was developed by The Zoological Society of London (ZSL). Rhett Butler 1.309319 109.666107 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14054 2014-11-20T23:12:00Z 2014-11-24T03:28:48Z Activists hijack Pepsi's new product launch on Amazon over deforestation A campaign launched by environmental activists is killing Pepsi's launch of a new product on Amazon.com. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14046 2014-11-19T17:54:00Z 2014-11-25T23:32:37Z Palm oil interest surges in Papua New Guinea <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1119-thumb-Dendrolagus_matschiei.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As the lands of traditional palm oil powerhouses like Indonesia and Malaysia have become saturated with plantations, companies looking to profit have turned to vast areas of seemingly untouched tropical forest in other parts of the world – places like Papua New Guinea. But, in fact, say advocates of local communities, those forests often support the lives and livelihoods of millions of people who must have their rights taken into account. Morgan Erickson-Davis -5.180039 151.389515 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14032 2014-11-17T19:04:00Z 2014-11-17T19:05:27Z Palm oil giant suspends supplier over deforestation allegations Palm oil giant Musim Mas Group has suspended purchases from the PT Pati Sari mill over allegations that the facility is processing fruit illegally grown within a biodiversity hotspot in Sumatra, reports the Rainforest Action Network (RAN), which recently published an investigation on the mill's sourcing practices. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14023 2014-11-14T23:35:00Z 2014-11-15T04:18:47Z UN to promote RSPO-certified palm oil as conservation solution The United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has signed an agreement with the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) to promote eco-certified palm oil as part of the broader effort to conserve biodiversity. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14017 2014-11-13T20:08:00Z 2014-11-13T23:15:22Z Over 60% of world's traded palm oil now bound by zero deforestation commitments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1113-i-love-tigers-not-palm-oil150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Over sixty percent of palm oil traded internationally is now bound by zero deforestation policies after IOI Loders Croklaan committed to excluding forest destruction from its supply chain, says Forest Heroes, a campaign that aims to reduce the environmental impact of palm oil production. IOI Loders Croklaan's parent corporation IOI Group has been aggressively targeted by environmentalists for its links to deforestation and controversies over conflicts with local communities. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14013 2014-11-12T22:09:00Z 2014-11-13T17:41:50Z Reducing deforestation is good for business, argues report Some of the world's largest companies are making progress in disclosing and addressing deforestation risk within their commodity supply chains, but much work is left to be done to shift to more sustainable practices, argues a new report from the Climate Disclosure Project. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14008 2014-11-12T01:40:00Z 2014-11-25T23:30:22Z Only place where rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans coexist is under threat <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1111-gfw-leuser-ecosystem150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A forest that is the only place where rhinos, tigers, elephants, and orangutans coexist is under threat from planned infrastructure, mining, logging, and plantation projects, warns a new report from the Rainforest Action Network. The report looks at one of the last vestiges of wilderness on the island of Sumatra, which for the past three decades has been heavily ravaged by logging, fires, and conversion to industrial timber and oil palm plantations. This area, known as the Leuser Ecosystem, is today a battleground between business-as-usual interests seeking to mine its forests and a collection of conservationists, local communities, and a collection of companies seeking to steward its resources. Rhett Butler 4.15057 97.86737 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/14007 2014-11-11T20:17:00Z 2014-11-25T23:29:58Z ‘Militarized occupation’: local communities pay the price for palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1111-thumb-cannon-mill.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There’s little doubt that the use of palm oil is expanding rapidly throughout the world, and with it the need for millions of hectares of land to grow oil palm trees. The results can be devastating for local communities who depend on the agriculture and forests that these lands support. A recent report catalogs the issues that arise with oil palm expansion. Morgan Erickson-Davis -9.610027 149.331889 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13999 2014-11-10T21:43:00Z 2014-11-11T01:35:05Z Peru has massive opportunity to avoid emissions from deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1110carbon-zoom-amazon-mainstem150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Nearly a billion tons of carbon in Peru's rainforests is at risk from logging, infrastructure projects, and oil and gas extraction, yet opportunities remain to conserve massive amounts of forest in indigenous territories, parks, and unprotected areas, finds a study published this week in <i>Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences</i> (PNAS). Rhett Butler -5.298827 -76.268806 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13970 2014-11-03T17:17:00Z 2014-11-10T04:37:28Z Indonesian government's concession policy prioritizes companies over forest communities <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5260.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A report by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) analyzes 100 conflicts around the world in the mining, oil and gas, logging and agricultural sectors and examines how and why they come about. The report focuses on several emerging economies, including Brazil, Colombia, Liberia, Peru, and Indonesia. Rhett Butler -7.975598 140.364711 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13966 2014-10-31T16:46:00Z 2014-11-06T17:57:55Z 'Too many people': Philippine island being deforested despite extensive protections <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1030-thumb-serpent-eagle.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>About an hour and a half plane ride from the Philippine capital Manila is Palawan, a long, narrow island home to about a quarter of all the animal species found in the country. But the province is losing its forests at a rapid clip due to human population increases, logging, quarrying, mining, and even a huge palm plantation. Morgan Erickson-Davis 10.134435 118.937569 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13953 2014-10-28T22:39:00Z 2014-11-12T03:22:11Z Bunge commits to zero deforestation palm oil Agribusiness giant Bunge has joined the growing ranks of companies that have established zero deforestation policies for their palm oil supply chains. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13941 2014-10-23T20:23:00Z 2014-10-23T21:35:02Z Beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products from 8 countries responsible for 1/3 of forest destruction Four commodities produced in just eight countries are responsible for a third of the world's forest loss, according to a new report. Those familiar with the long-standing effort to stop deforestation won't be surprised by the commodities named: beef, palm oil, soy, and wood products (including timber and paper). Nor will they be very surprised by most of the countries: Brazil, Indonesia, and Malaysia. Jeremy Hance 5.505705 101.755097 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13932 2014-10-21T18:31:00Z 2014-11-06T17:55:47Z 'No forests, no cash': palm oil giants commit to sustainability, but will they follow through? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/north_sumatra_0473.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Four of Indonesia’s largest palm oil producers signed a landmark commitment in New York in September to further implement sustainable practices across one of the country’s largest commercial sectors. Then-President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono and the Indonesia Chamber of Commerce (KADIN) witnessed the undertaking, which is hoped to expand the country’s palm oil industry while making it more environmentally friendly. Morgan Erickson-Davis 0.060740 101.624061 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13927 2014-10-21T14:47:00Z 2014-12-30T22:30:02Z Saving Asia's other endangered cats (photos) <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/LC_Ronglarp_HKK.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>It's no secret that when it comes to the wild cats of Asia&#8212;and, really, cats in general&#8212;tigers get all the press. In fact, tigers&#8212;down to an estimated 3,200 individuals&#8212;arguably dominate conservation across Asia. But as magnificent, grand, and endangered as the tigers are, there are a number of other felines in the region that are much less studied&#8212;and may be just as imperiled. Jeremy Hance 5.395824 117.268519 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13926 2014-10-21T03:15:00Z 2014-10-21T13:50:53Z Indonesian law bars palm oil companies from protecting forests <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1020-gar-concessions150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A law passed by the Indonesian government last month makes it even more difficult for palm oil companies to conserve tracts of wildlife-rich and carbon-dense forests within their concessions, potentially undermining these producers' commitments to phase deforestation out of their supply chains, warns a new report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. Rhett Butler 0.348127 111.743953 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13922 2014-10-20T14:08:00Z 2014-10-21T15:05:26Z Walking the walk: zoo kicks off campaign for orangutans and sustainable palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/kalteng_0897.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>If you see people wearing orange this October, it might not be for Halloween, but for orangutans. Chester Zoo’s conservation campaign, Go Orange for Orangutans, kicks off this month for its second year. The campaign aims to raise money, and awareness, for orangutans in Borneo, which have become hugely impacted by deforestation often linked to palm oil plantations. Jeremy Hance 53.224664 -2.884033 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13915 2014-10-16T18:12:00Z 2014-10-22T20:41:15Z To become less damaging, target non-forest lands for palm oil, says book <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/1016-top-palm-oil-producers150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Palm oil production has been spectacularly profitable but ecologically disastrous across Southeast Asia, consuming millions of hectares of indigenous lands, rainforests, and peatlands in recent decades. That paradox has made the crop highly controversial despite its importance in providing a high-yielding source of vegetable oil. A new book, published freely online by the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), weighs in on the debate and concludes &#8212; like many before it &#8212; that the problem is not the crop itself, but how it is produced. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13907 2014-10-14T20:11:00Z 2014-10-16T18:58:39Z Rogue palm oil company appeals deforestation case to Indonesia's supreme court Oil palm company PT. Kallista Alam has filed an appeal with the Supreme Court continuing the closely-watched legal battle set to redefine Indonesia's commitment to environmental justice. Lawyers for the company filed the new appeal on October 6, claiming the initial case is invalid because it failed to include all relevant parties as defendants—including the governor of Aceh, who issued the concession permit in 2011. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13892 2014-10-09T02:17:00Z 2014-10-14T04:57:34Z Brazil unlikely to sustain gains in reducing deforestation without new incentives for ranchers, says study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://travel.mongabay.com/brazil/150/brazil_0588.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Cattle ranchers that drive the vast majority of forest clearing in the Brazilian Amazon are unlikely to be held at bay indefinitely unless they are afforded new incentives for keeping trees standing, argues new analysis published by an economic research group. The findings suggest that Brazil's recent progress in reducing deforestation &#8212; annual forest loss in the region has dropped by roughly 80 percent since 2004 &#8212; could easily be reversed. Rhett Butler -6.358975 -52.505379 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13876 2014-10-05T22:37:00Z 2014-10-09T02:17:26Z Report rates palm oil companies on sustainability commitments <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_0913.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A new report published Forest Heroes, an advocacy campaign pushing for an end to deforestation, ranks global palm oil companies on their sustainability commitments. The Green Tigers, authored by Glen Hurowitz, reviews the recent history of environmental policies in the palm oil sector, beginning with the formation of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) in 2004 through the wave of comprehensive zero deforestation commitments in 2013-2014. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13874 2014-10-05T06:01:00Z 2014-10-05T06:12:19Z Central Kalimantan to set up palm oil monitoring system to in bid cut deforestation 80% <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/thumbnails/indonesia/kalimantan/kali9753.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The Indonesian province of Central Kalimantan is moving forward on an oil palm plantation monitoring system it hopes will help meet a commitment to reduce deforestation 80 percent by 2020. The online monitoring system will include "information on the performance of plantation concessions such as productivity, the number of smallholder farmers, deforestation and other land cover change, and fire occurrence," according to Earth Innovation Institute which designed and is helping the provincial government implement the system. Rhett Butler -2.487964 111.863086 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13873 2014-10-04T00:43:00Z 2014-10-04T00:53:47Z Companies hire local communities to evade palm oil restrictions in Indonesia <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_5460.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>As more palm oil companies are held accountable for deforestation in Indonesia, a growing number are hiring local communities to do their dirty work. According to the Oil Palm Farmers Union (SPKS), companies promise to buy mature fruits at attractive rates from smallholders and local villages who agree to clear and plant in protected forest areas. Through these agreements, companies distance themselves from the process, leaving the locals to bear responsibility for the destruction. Rhett Butler 4.149286 98.018425 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13851 2014-09-30T23:40:00Z 2014-10-01T02:50:35Z High Court denies appeal by palm oil company that cleared protected peat forest <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/north_sumatra_0435.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Furthering Indonesia's renewed commitment to environmental justice, the High Court of Banda Aceh denied an appeal by PT. Kallista Alam, the oil palm company found guilty of destroying over 1,000 hectares of protected peat forest in Gunung Leuser ecosystem. The Court upheld the previous ruling, which fined the company 366 billion rupiah ($30 million) in penalties and restoration fees. Rhett Butler 4.143465 96.128556 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13849 2014-09-30T15:40:00Z 2014-09-30T16:15:45Z Malaysian palm oil company destroys Borneo forests, despite buyer's zero deforestation commitment Malaysian palm oil company Genting Plantations is continuing to destroy forests despite a high-profile pledge by one of its customers to eliminate deforestation from its supply chain, alleges a report published by Greenomics, an Indonesian environmental group. Rhett Butler 1.1897898 110.790518 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13834 2014-09-25T15:48:00Z 2014-09-25T16:16:37Z Termites suffer in logged forests and palm oil plantations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src=" http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923-termites-150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Ants appear more resilient to forest degradation than termites. Scientists have long studied how birds, mammals, and amphibians respond to forest degradation, but what about the most abundant animals in the forest? Insects. A new study in <i>Biodiversity and Conservation</i> looks at how ants and termites reacted to forest changes in Malaysian Borneo. Tiffany Roufs 3.535145 114.288557 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13821 2014-09-24T09:34:00Z 2014-09-24T14:35:40Z Cargill commits to zero deforestation across entire global supply chain: all commodities <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay/sabah/150/sabah_2207.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Cargill, one of the world's largest agricultural companies, has extended its zero deforestation commitment for palm oil to all commodities it produces. The commitment, announced Tuesday at the United Nations Climate Summit in New York, is the most far-reaching zero deforestation policy ever established, covering Cargill's sprawling global empire of businesses, including palm oil, sugar, soy, cattle, and cocoa. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13820 2014-09-23T23:50:00Z 2014-11-06T17:52:41Z Norway to pay Liberia to stop deforestation <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0923-diana-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>In one of the many major announcements that have come out of the UN Climate Summit in New York this week, Norway says it will pay Liberia to stop cutting down its forests. Norway’s payment will come on the form of development aid for the war-torn, impoverished, and now Ebola-ridden West African nation. Morgan Erickson-Davis 7.281362 -9.936618 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13810 2014-09-20T12:46:00Z 2014-09-24T09:25:04Z Palm oil giants announce deforestation moratorium -- effective immediately <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_0913.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Five of the world's largest palm oil producers have announced an immediate moratorium on palm oil sourced via clearance of potential high carbon stock forests. On Friday, Asian Agri, IOI Corporation Berhad, Kuala Lumpur Kepong (KLK) Berhad, Musim Mas Group and Sime Darby Plantation said they will suspend forest clearing until they have completed a year-along study that aims to establish a threshold for defining what constitutes high carbon stock (HCS) forest. Rhett Butler 3.114409 101.573087 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13803 2014-09-19T08:18:00Z 2014-09-19T08:21:06Z Krispy Kreme, Dunkin' Donuts to cut palm oil linked to deforestation Two of the world's largest doughnut brands this week committed to sourcing safeguards that move them toward eliminating deforestation from their palm oil supply chains. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13799 2014-09-18T19:26:00Z 2014-11-06T17:07:32Z Legislation protecting Indonesia's indigenous communities is not good enough, says advocacy group <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0918-fronds-thumb.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Approaching final legalization, an advocacy group for Indonesia’s indigenous communities has asked to postpone passing a bill granting protections to indigenous people, stating some demands still need to be addressed. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.471485 100.315548 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13790 2014-09-17T09:47:00Z 2014-09-17T15:29:19Z Plantation companies agree to process to define zero deforestation commitments A group of palm oil and timber companies that have pledged to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains have agreed to establish a standard for determining what constitutes forest in terms of carbon storage. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13784 2014-09-16T18:03:00Z 2014-11-06T17:51:43Z From 'production' forests to protected forests, groups work to save Sumatran orangutan habitat. But will it be enough? <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/north_sumatra_0584.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>The orangutan is native exclusively to the islands of Borneo and Sumatra — two regions that have seen the brunt of Indonesia's recent forest destruction due primarily to logging and plantation development. Although there are anywhere from 45,000 to 69,000 Bornean orangutans remaining in the wild, the Sumatran species numbers only about 7,300 according to a 2004 survey, and is dwindling further every year. Morgan Erickson-Davis 3.096116 97.700802 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13777 2014-09-12T18:31:00Z 2014-09-12T18:35:36Z Palm oil company continues to operate illegal plantation despite court ruling A palm oil company in Central Kalimantan continues to operate business as usual, despite a Supreme Court ruling confirming it has no legal permit to do so. Since 2009, PT Hati Prima Agro (HPA), a subsidiary of palm oil giant Bumitama Gunajaya Agro Group (BGA), has cleared over 7,000 ha of land in Central Kalimantan, even though their permits were revoked by the Ministry of Forestry in 2008. Rhett Butler -1.480243 112.530012 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13764 2014-09-10T18:27:00Z 2014-11-06T17:49:50Z Elephants pay the price for palm oil in Malaysian Borneo, impact may reach far beyond reported kills <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0810-borneo-elephants-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>More than a dozen elephant kills were reported in Sabah in 2013 alone, but it is unknown exactly how many have lost their lives in recent years as palm plantations encroach further and further into the rainforest. What is clear is that if the loss of their forest habitat continues to drive conflicts with humans at the rate it is now, Borneo elephants’ long-term survival may be in jeopardy. Morgan Erickson-Davis 6.180661 116.893646 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13763 2014-09-10T02:36:00Z 2014-09-10T02:55:11Z Malaysian palm oil chief misleads on deforestation One of Malaysia's top palm oil officials has once again misled the public on the state of forests in Malaysia. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13748 2014-09-05T21:03:00Z 2014-09-05T21:17:39Z Companies at risk of sourcing illegal palm oil despite zero deforestation commitments, finds investigation Major palm oil suppliers may be continuing to buy tainted palm oil despite high-profile commitments to eliminate deforestation from their supply chains, reports a new investigation published by Eyes on the Forest. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13728 2014-08-28T23:43:00Z 2014-08-28T23:52:38Z Indonesia's national airline to start using palm oil biofuel Indonesia's national airline, Garuda Indonesia, says it will start mixing palm oil-based biofuel with its jet fuel as part of an initiative to "reduce" carbon emissions, reports The Jakarta Post. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13723 2014-08-27T23:55:00Z 2014-11-20T20:34:04Z Meeting an Illegal Logger <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0827logger150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>'I make six times the amount of money logging as I would working my small plot of land or even working legally in a pulp and paper or palm oil plantation.' An illegal logger explains the economic conditions in South Sumatra. Mongabay Special Reporting Fellow Robert S. Eshelman interviews an illegal logger in Indonesia on the topic of cleaning up commodity supply chains. Tiffany Roufs -3.483145 104.340247 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13716 2014-08-26T19:35:00Z 2014-11-06T17:48:12Z What lies within, we may never know: deforestation threatening Sulawesi’s unique wildlife <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://www.mongabay.com/thumbnails/indonesia/sulawesi/sulawesi6483.JPG" align="left"/></td></tr></table>For 10 million years the Indonesian island of Sulawesi has been disconnected from other landforms, almost inviting evolution to color outside the lines. Despite a growing population and limited space, Sulawesi has managed to provide a safe haven to hundreds of unique species as they evolved over millennia. But that haven may soon be lost to uncontrolled extraction of forest products from Sulawesi’s many pristine ecosystems. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.460181 120.146481 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13694 2014-08-21T01:02:00Z 2014-08-21T02:10:16Z Indonesia's forests so damaged they burn whether or not there's drought <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/riau/150/riau_1070.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Air pollution caused by fires set for land-clearing on Sumatra has become a regularly occurrence in Southeast Asia. While these fires are often termed forest fires, the reality is much of the area that burns each year has already been deforested and today mostly consists of grass, scrub, and remnants of what was once forest. But the impacts are nonetheless very substantial, finds a new study published in the journal <i>Scientific Reports</i>. Rhett Butler 1.974402 100.630431 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13670 2014-08-14T23:59:00Z 2014-08-15T01:00:46Z ConAgra adopts greener palm oil policy U.S. food giant ConAgra has adopted a new sourcing policy that will exclude palm oil produced at the expense of rainforests and peatlands. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13669 2014-08-14T23:15:00Z 2014-09-23T01:56:10Z Elephant poaching soars as Sumatran forests turn into plantations <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0814-sum-elephants-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>There has been a spike in elephant deaths in Sumatra this year, and conversion of rainforest to plantations is one of the main causes. The number of Sumatran elephants poached in the province of Riau so far this year is staggering, with 22 reported kills in the first six months of 2014 compared to 14 for the entirety of 2013. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.410429 101.647161 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13667 2014-08-14T18:52:00Z 2014-11-06T17:45:07Z Indonesia cracks down on illegal burning, investigates more suspect companies <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0814-burn-riau-rhett-thumb.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Every year, thousands of hectares of Indonesian forest are illegally burned by development companies. However, Indonesia’s Minister of Environment, Balthasar Kambuaya, is optimistic that legal charges over such fires can be completed – even though he has just three months left in office. Morgan Erickson-Davis 1.331012 101.394371 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13666 2014-08-14T04:41:00Z 2014-08-14T04:45:43Z Big palm oil companies move forward on carbon study <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_0743.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Seven palm oil giants have agreed to fund a study that will define what constitutes "High Carbon Stock" (HCS) forest, a move that will potentially determine the fate of ecosystems around the world as more companies commit to "zero-deforestation" policies based on the amount of carbon stored in vegetation. Rhett Butler -1.664195 112.930999 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13658 2014-08-13T12:22:00Z 2014-12-30T22:35:41Z Forgotten species: the exotic squirrel with a super tail <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0813.Central-Kalimantan,-Erik-Meijaard.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>With among the world's largest tails compared to body-size, the tufted ground squirrel just might be the most exotic squirrel species on the planet. Found only on the island of Borneo, this threatened species is also surrounded by wild tales, including the tenacity to take down a deer for dinner. New research explores the squirrel's monster tail and whether other tales about it may be true. Jeremy Hance 1.187729 114.549402 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13645 2014-08-11T14:30:00Z 2014-08-12T13:18:37Z Indonesia's children see ravaged environment in their future <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://s3.amazonaws.com/mongabay-images/14/0811.children.4-Future.150.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>A generation ago, Borneo was one of the wildest places on the planet. But decades of logging and oil palm plantations has changed the landscape of Borneo forever: in fact a recent study found that the island has lost 30 percent of its total forest cover since 1973. In the face of this large-scale environmental destruction, a new study finds that Indonesian Borneo's children have a pessimistic view of their future. Jeremy Hance -0.910536 114.307703 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13644 2014-08-11T04:23:00Z 2014-08-11T04:33:31Z Aceh's largest peat swamp at risk from palm oil Oil palm plantations and other developments are threatening Rawa Singkil Wildlife Preserve—Aceh's largest peat swamp, and home to the densest population of Sumatran orangutan in the Leuser Ecosystem. The lack of clear boundaries, and construction of roads bisecting the area has fostered encroachment by local and outside entrepreneurs, including some former local officials, reports Abu Hanifah Lubis, Program Manager of Yayasan Leuser Internasional (YLI). Rhett Butler 2.60355 97.807059 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13634 2014-08-06T00:57:00Z 2014-08-06T01:00:08Z Oil palm, mining prompts local govt in Borneo to declare water unsafe for drinking The Environment Ministry of Sintang Regency, West Kalimantan, Indonesia declared that the water in many rivers and lakes is unsuitable for consumption due to high levels of pollution. Rhett Butler 0.364606 111.641296 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13624 2014-08-04T20:13:00Z 2014-11-06T17:44:27Z Tin mining, palm oil plantations wreaking havoc on small Indonesian island <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/14/0804-tarsier-thumb.jpeg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Belitung, a picturesque island off the east coast of Sumatra, has experienced an uptick in tourism recently due to its unspoiled white sand beaches and turquoise waters. But next to all of the beauty, an environmental tragedy is quietly unfolding: the island’s primary forests are being cut down at an alarming rate in favor of mining and palm oil plantations. Morgan Erickson-Davis -2.939268 107.975917 tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13612 2014-07-30T23:11:00Z 2014-07-31T00:34:38Z Cargill to cut off suppliers who don't provide deforestation-free palm oil <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay.s3.amazonaws.com/sabah/150/sabah_2580.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>Agricultural giant Cargill, America's largest palm oil importer, will no longer buy palm oil from sources associated with deforestation, conversion of peatlands, and social conflict. The policy follows similar commitments made by other major palm oil buyers, including Unilever and Nestle, and comes after years of campaigning led by the Rainforest Action Network. Rhett Butler tag:news.mongabay.com,2005:Article/13595 2014-07-29T02:18:00Z 2014-07-29T03:43:28Z Palm oil company clears rainforest in New Guinea <table align="left"><tr><td><img src="http://mongabay-images.s3.amazonaws.com/i/indonesia/150/aceh_1423.jpg" align="left"/></td></tr></table>An Indonesian Stock Exchange-listed company whose commissioner is a member of The Nature Conservancy-Indonesia's board has been clearing dense rainforest in New Guinea, finds a new report from Greenomics-Indonesia. The report is based on analysis of data from Global Forest Watch, NASA satellites, Indonesia's Ministry of Forestry, and company documents. Rhett Butler -1.830972 132.477214