Lack of Legislation
The loss of the rainforests has a significant effect on biodiversity. Not only does this remove the huge array of interlinked plant species which make up a forest, replacing them with a monoculture, by doing this they eliminate the habitat and food source of many species of creature. Creatures like the orangutan, Sumatran tiger and Asian elephant are endangered, with the significant driver of their decrease being loss of habitat.
One reason some people today turn to permaculture is a wonderful concern with the effect that contemporary commercial agricultural practices are having on the planet. To fulfill the demands of customers, and to maximize gains, agricultural practices have increasingly turned from nature in an effort to improve yield over the short term, with alarming consequences for the entire world, at a local and international level.
The main way the rainforests are eliminated is slashing and burning. Not only does this release the harmful greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, it also causes air pollution in the smoke, damaging the health of employees and other individuals in the nation. The smoke can travel several kilometers, and in prior years farm fires in Indonesia even caused Singapore airport to close due to a ‘haze’ travelled between the nations. While burning rainforests has been outlawed, the practice remains widespread.
In 2003 some global efforts between companies and governments was made to establish standards for making some palm oil production sustainable. A body was put up that called for a stop to rainforest clearance, respect for local native peoples, and more environmentally conscious production practices. But because of continued rising demand for its product from the West and hence the sustainability of its production to the countries like Indonesia and Malaysia, there’s minimal regulation to apply these codes of behavior, and a lot of the most damaging aspects of palm oil production continue unabated.
This lack of political will to curtail the production of palm oil finds expression also in the absence of clear and precise labeling of food products that would enable consumers to choose whether to buy a product that comprises palm oil. At the moment food labels don’t need to define where any palm oil contained within comes from, and oftentimes needs only to refer to ‘vegetable oil’ if others besides palm oil are used.
Countries like Indonesia and Malaysia are primary producers. Due to increasing demand, a growing number of land has been turned over to palm oil production in nations like these, an not agricultural land; native rainforests are being cut down to make room shape more palm oil plantations. This reduction of organic rainforest has many nock-on consequences.
In theory, this type of product, with its multiplicity of functions will normally appeal to permaculturists because of its efficacy, but the increasing demand for palm oil has had, and is continuing to have, such severe consequences that many are calling for much tighter regulation on creation.
One of the most problematic of agricultural goods in this regard is palm oil. It’s divisive because palm oil was originally touted as a ‘green’ harvest and literally a gas in making products less harmful to the air. The oil is an integral element in biodiesel, considered a possible replacement for fossil fuel-based gas as a power source for automobiles.
As permaculturists understand, even on a small scale, even when dirt is left uncovered or isn’t planted with many different species, it is more prone to erosion. With the palm oil plantations, the erosion of soil is important. It happens dramatically when the rainforest is cleared, but also while the plantation stands, because there isn’t any ground cover plants to help safeguard the soil. The erosion of the soil by wind and, primarily in these tropical places, rain, means that the healthy topsoil gets washed away and can clog up rivers and other water bodies. The absence of biodiversity also suggests the farm lacks the natural method to protect itself from diseases and pests, and attain the nutrients necessary to grow. Therefore, pesticides, fungicides and inorganic fertilizers have been added to the ground. However, these leach through the water table and get washed off the soil by erosion, and pollute water resources, affecting both people and animals.
Rainforest clearance also denies indigenous forest people of the dwelling. But many more people who do not reside in the woods depend upon them for heir livelihood. By destroying the rainforests, palm oil production forces many people into poverty because they’ve lost their way of making a living. With the pollution of the atmosphere and water sources due to burning and soil erosion, even basic needs like water and air are being compromised for lots of men and women. What’s more, large national companies or even multinationals own lots of the plantations so the profits from the sale of this product don’t benefit the local men and women.
Rainforests are important holders, or ‘sinks’ of carbon dioxide. After the rainforest is cut down, this carbon is released into the air, and with carbon dioxide become a main greenhouse gas, adding to the issue of climate change. The same holds for the water in wetlands which are also being cleared for palm oil production and the peat in peat bogs; the carbon dioxide in the water is discharged into the atmosphere.
Palm oil is also promoted as a healthy alternative to other vegetable oils in food since it’s lower levels of unsaturated trans fats which are often harmful to human health. The extra bonus which links these two purported advantages was that palm oil which was used to fry food, for example, could then be used to make biodiesel, which makes it a multi-function item. Palm oil is also used widely in several industrial food manufacturing processes.