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Biodiversity and Oil Palm: integrating science and policy - a ZSL Discussion Meeting

10% of supermarket goods already contain palm oil; however, the growth of the oil palm industry may be harming our tropical rainforests and their abundant wildlife. Conservationists and industry representatives will discuss the issues surrounding our increased demand for oil palm at this meeting.

Palm oil is one of the most important vegetable oils in the world today. It is already present in ten percent of supermarket goods with demand still rising as the Asian markets grow and Europe looks to biofuels to mitigate concerns over carbon emissions and rising crude oil prices. Palm oil production makes significant contributions to the economies of developing nations, employing thousands in rural areas.

But oil palm is a tropical crop and grows best in the exact same areas as the world's tropical forests. Land conversion for plantations drives deforestation and few species can survive in the resulting oil palm monoculture. As a consequence, expansion has led to increasing conflict between the demands of development and the conservation of some of the world's most biodiverse ecosystems and charismatic species.

The economic value of palm oil ensures it is here to stay, but the crisis threatening biodiversity and the environment demands immediate action. Guidelines have been produced on producing 'sustainable' palm oil. But recommendations concerning biodiversity impacts are vague and difficult to implement. Solutions require dialogue, and it is with this in mind that this meeting is convening representatives from Asian industry and government, conservation and science to discuss:
• How is biodiversity impacted by oil palm?
• What are the issues for industry in mitigating impacts on biodiversity?
• How can stakeholders work together to minimise conflict?

Organised by Dr Tom Maddox, Emily Fitzherbert and Sarah Christie, ZSL

IMAGE CREDITS: Terracing: Emily Fitzherbert; 18 year-old palm: Emily Fitzherbert

Presentations (provisional)
Science: Biodiversity in oil palm;
Industry: Implementing RSPO principles and criteria related to biodiversity;
Government: Spatial planning for oil palm and biodiversity;
Conservation: Conservation and industry partnerships.

CALL FOR POSTERS – all attendees are welcome to contribute posters on the theme of biodiversity and oil palm. Please contact Joy Hayward to display a relevant poster.


TBC | talks


Date and Time:

8 April 2008 at 6:00 pm


1 hour 30 minutes



London Zoo's Meeting Rooms
Regent's Park (Outer Circle)
0207 449 6227
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Organised by:

The Zoological Society of London
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Admission is free and everyone is welcome!

Available from:

There will be a 3-course dinner with the speakers following this Scientific Meeting. For further information or to book places, please contact joy.hayward@zsl.org or call 020 7449 6227.

Additional Information:

If you would like to be added to our e-mailing list for future meetings, please contact joy.hayward@zsl.org

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