Endangered Orangutans Gain From Eco-Friendly Shifts in Palm Oil Market
Oil palm plantations are a major threat to orangutans, but new initiatives for deforestation-free palm oil may help save them.
Orangutans face many obstacles, from commercial logging and mining to deforestation for pulp and paper. But Michelle Desilets, executive director of the Orangutan Land Trust, says that the "the conversion of forest for oil palm is the single greatest threat to [their] survival in the wild" in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Papua New Guinea.
During the past 11 months, however, more than a dozen major producers, traders, and consumers of palm oil have pledged to produce, buy, or sell only deforestation-free palm oil.
Some 60 percent of the global palm oil trade (about 50 million tons, and increasing) is covered by these new forest-friendly palm oil policies.
"We're seeing the beginning of a bunch of dominos that are going to fall, and it's