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The Greening of AsiaThe Business Case for Solving Asia’s Environmental Emergency$
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Mark Clifford

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780231166089

Published to Columbia Scholarship Online: November 2015

DOI: 10.7312/columbia/9780231166089.001.0001

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The Tropical Challenge

The Tropical Challenge

Saving Asia’s Lungs

(p.167) 7 The Tropical Challenge
The Greening of Asia

Mark L. Clifford

Columbia University Press

This chapter examines how the food industry meets the challenge of deforestation. Forests are not only important in moderating the pace of climate change; they are also the home to many of the Earth’s species, and are key to the planet’s legacy of biodiversity. Deforestation, burning, and land clearing, mostly of tropical rain forests, contribute 17 percent of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions. Agriculture, especially palm oil, is the single most important factor of deforestation. As demand for palm oil increased, so too did the backlash from environmentalists and consumers, angry that the demand for palm oil was fueling the destruction of tropical rainforests. This led to the inauguration of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil in 2004, which mandated a set of prescribed practices among palm oil growers that ranged from prohibitions on planting on recently cleared forestland and peat bogs to requirements for sustainable farming practices, such as water and pest management, and minimization of soil erosion.

Keywords:   food industry, deforestation, forests, climate change, biodiversity, tropical rain forests, greenhouse gas emissions, agriculture, palm oil, Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil

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