The local impacts of oil palm expansion in Malaysia: An assessment based on a case study in Sabah State

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This paper seeks to deepen our understanding of the potential future local impacts of expanding oil palm production for biodiesel production by drawing lessons from Malaysia's experience. This analysis is based on a case study exploring local perceptions of impacts of oil palm development on the environment and local livelihoods in the Beluran District of Sabah State. Findings suggest that smallholder cultivation of oil palm constitutes an important alternative to customary livelihood activities and that plantation employment offers new livelihood opportunities to disadvantaged groups. However, this does come at the expense of environmental degradation and loss of traditional subsistence activities such as fishing and rice farming.

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