Palm oil has exploded as a resource for many different modern food and non-food commodities. It can be found in any processed food or commodity where a lipid source is needed for the product being made. The demand in its production has spanned worldwide but it can only be grown in tropical areas. Since we have some students either living in or from Indonesia and we have had students want to learn more about agriculture and the food we eat, we will be taking a closer look at palm oil and its environmental impact. Please read the article below and watch the following video to complete the discussion assignment requirements below.
Here is a link to your required reading for this discussion:
Palm oil is unavoidable. Can it be sustainable? (Links to an external site.)
Just in case you have trouble accessing the article, I have made a pdf version that you should be able to access without a subscription.
National Geographic 2018 Palm oil is unavoidable Can it be sustainable.pdf
Here is the video documentary to watch as well.
Where is red oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) native to and why has its production increased so dramatically. There are many different types of plant oil but why is palm oil preferred? List 7 methods for processing palm oil and give an example of a product from each of the 7 processing methods. With so many products coming from palm oil, which one did you find most surprising?
Describe the extent of environmental and humanitarian problems that come with growing palm oil in plantations in Indonesia. Although it might seem wise to boycott palm oil, what makes this so difficult to do? When was oil palm brought to Indonesia and what were some agricultural breakthroughs that allowed it to grow so well once it was brought to Indonesia and Malaysia? Explain how palm oil agriculture in Sabah, Malaysia came to be so prominent. In your explanation make sure to mention what natural resource the province was trying to become less dependent on economically. What is being done in Sabah now to restore its ecosystem? Why is Gabon just now considering commercial agriculture of palm oil and how is its approach different than other countries growing it commercially? What other lessons from the past does Gabon have to learn from in managing its production of palm oil?
Going back to Indonesia, how much of the country’s GDP comes from palm oil and how much is it benefiting its citizens? What sort of land-use issues are brought up by Aceh Tamiang citizens and how is this contributing to deforestation for palm oil production. What are some potential remedies in Aceh Tamiang to slow the growth of new palm oil plantations from both the government and by its own citizens?
Finally, I want you to now make connections with what we have learned in class thus far with this emerging environmental issue. The Final Forest addresses many points of view with deforestation demand for timber in Pacific Northwestern forests and the recent palm oil boom in the tropics is very similar yet different. Compare and contrast these environmental issues by describing 2 ways these issues are similar to each other and 2 ways that they are different.
Your response should be 600 worcixds or more and is worth 20 points.
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