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Report Suggests Well-Managed Oil Palm Plantations Can Play A Role In Biodiversity Conservation

April 20, 2021 Sustainable Tourism No Comments

The conservation of biodiversity, both within and outside of certified concessions, is a key outcome that the RSPO aims to achieve through its Principles and Criteria 2018.

With the aim of better understanding progress towards this outcome, the RSPO commissioned a study by Borneo Futures, a scientific consultancy, in late 2019. The study evaluates whether the RSPO certification processes can or have contributed to the protection of species and landscapes, and identifies opportunities for improvement.

The study acknowledged clear conservation benefits originating from well-established biodiversity management of plantations but could not conclusively attribute these to the RSPO certification. The authors pointed to the complexity of the RSPO biodiversity requirements for assessing, managing and monitoring High Conservation Value areas – which may necessitate costly, external technical expertise – as a potential explanatory factor.

Dr Erik Meijaard, one of the researchers and Director of Borneo Futures, stated that “while species diversity and abundance in oil palm monoculture are lower than protected natural forests, the five companies surveyed retained important biodiversity. This suggests that well managed RSPO-certified oil palm plantations can play a role in biodiversity conservation by supporting and retaining sometimes significant levels of biodiversity.”

The RSPO recognises these issues and is working with our stakeholders to determine the systems and best practices for effective biodiversity management on oil palm plantations.

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