Media coverage

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Plantations seen behind more than half Malaysian Borneo deforestation

Palm oil and pulp wood companies are responsible for more than half of the rapid deforestation in the Malaysian part of Borneo island, an environmental scientist said in an interview. David Gaveau, of the Indonesia-based Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), and his group are likely to compound criticism of the palm oil industry in particular, which has faced condemnation for its land-clearing by burning and resulting smoke across Southeast Asia every year. Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia are the world's top two producers of palm oil. Malaysia lost 4.2 million hectares, up to 60 percent of the cleared land was rapidly converted to plantations.But in Kalimantan, on the Indonesian side of Borneo, only about 16 percent of cleared land was rapidly turned into plantations, he said. But plantations on the Malaysian side have always expanded into forested areas and this has been constant over the past forty years.However, he said, Indonesian palm oil plantations were rapidly catching up with Malaysia, clearing swathes of Borneo forest from 2005, following a palm-oil market boom.


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