London, June 2 : A report in New Scientist has determined that tropical forests in Indonesia and Malaysia are being axed in favour of palm oil.
Between 1990 and 2005 palm plantations rocketed by 1.87 million hectares in Malaysia and by more than 3 million hectares in Indonesia.
With the help of data from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation, Lian Pin Koh at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich and David Wilcove of Princeton University in the US, found that more than half the palm plantations came at the expense of forests.
These include the largely pristine, intact forest in Indonesia and previously logged forest in Malaysia.
The rest of the expansion covered pre-existing cropland.
According to the report, the European Commission is drafting a law to ban imports of palm oil crops grown on intact tropical forests.
But, according to researchers, logged forests support nearly as much biodiversity as primary forests, and should also be protected.