JOURNAL MONITOR VOL.2 NO.12 : TOP-5 COMMODITIES DRIVER OF GLOBAL DEFORESTATION
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The total area of global deforestation in the 1990-2008 period reached 239 million hectares. Unlike the countries that were the centers of global deforestation in the previous period (pre-agriculture until the 1980s), the top-5 regions that had drivers of deforestation in 1990-2008 were America (40 percent), Africa (31.6 percent), and Asia (26.2 percent).
If we linked between these region as drivers of global deforestation in 1990-2008 with the Environment Kuznets Curve hypothesis, it shows that these countries in are generally still in the pre-industrial phase, which is their economic sector is still dependent on agriculture. The agricultural-based economic phase requires land for the expansion of the agricultural sector area and for human settlements.
This hypothesis is also proven by various studies result/empirical studies which reveal that the agricultural sector through the expansion of agricultural land is the main cause of global deforestation. The top-5 agricultural commodities that have driven global deforestation in the 1990-2008 period are livestock, cereals, soybeans, root pulses, and other crops. Other commodities including palm oil, although have a global deforestation footprint, they are not among the top-5 drivers of global deforestation.
Thus, the issue linking of oil palm plantations as a driver of deforestation and high-risk ILUC or forest-risk commodities which are widely spread by anti-palm oil NGOs or western countries that are competing vegetable oil producers is an issue and accusations are irrelevant and even misdirected. The association of palm oil with global deforestation drivers is only a form of unfair business competition (unfairness) and discrimination (crop apartheid).