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Demand for palm oil sets off wave of deforestation

Indonesia
Demand for palm oil sets off wave of deforestation
and the burning of tropical forests in Sumatra. "Everything is burning here. Everything." Everywhere in Indonesia, the forest is disappearing at a breathtaking rate. The environmental organization Greenpeace estimates 300 football fields are destroyed every hour. The reason is palm oil, which is in demand in part because it is added to diesel fuel to make it more environmentally friendly. "When the trees are gone, the ground temperature increases to as high as 70 degrees." The slightest spark is enough to cause a huge fire. And it has emerged as an enormous climate issue for Indonesia. Because of the destruction of the forests Indonesia has become the third-largest source of carbon dioxide emissions caused by human activity, behind the US and China. The cutting, burning and processing of the trees also exposes the forest floor, which in its natural overgrown state stores an enormous amount of CO2 - six to nine times more than a typical forest. Local village community councils may plant everything possible to help the ground recover. But nothing thrives on the dry and scorched turf.

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