Thursday, 9 November 2017

Giant lizards are thriving on Borneo's oil palm plantations

Deforestation has wiped out most other predators, so the lizards have lots of food and little competition

Oil palm trees plague the once untouched and wild island of Borneo. Towering rainforests have been chopped down and the land turned into a monotonous monoculture of plantations, the principle source of palm oil. In the Malaysian region of Sabah, in the north of the island, these trees now cover a staggering 20 per cent of the entire state.

The problems caused by palm oil plantations have been well documented. Deforestation has led to huge fires and massive carbon emissions which have left orangutans on the brink of extinction. But what is happening on the plantations themselves? What has large-scale logging and forest conversion done for the ecosystem and its biodiversity?

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