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... The total area available and suitable in a region for sowing a given crop is limited. This includes areas already used for agriculture and "new" land suitable for use change, e.g., from degraded or improved pastures to commercial crops (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Quezada et al., 2022). The limitation is also determined by meteorological variables, particularly rainfall and photosynthetic active radiation (Morales-Rincon et al., 2021), soil and terrain characteristics, location and infrastructure Castiblanco et al., 2013), technology and security. ...
... This includes areas already used for agriculture and "new" land suitable for use change, e.g., from degraded or improved pastures to commercial crops (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Quezada et al., 2022). The limitation is also determined by meteorological variables, particularly rainfall and photosynthetic active radiation (Morales-Rincon et al., 2021), soil and terrain characteristics, location and infrastructure Castiblanco et al., 2013), technology and security. If the maximum area that can be sown (i.e., the area asymptotic or saturation limit, also known as "carrying capacity") is large, as it is in Orinoquia, the initial expansion rate is expected to be slow and linear, then faster around the expansion mid-point (exponential phase), and afterwards again slow as the sown area approaches its carrying capacity. ...
... frontiersin.org models applied to Orinoquia by other investigators Castiblanco et al., 2013) apparently do not suffer from the problems reported here. The Colombian Orinoquia sown area increased by 494 ± 47 km 2 (49 ± 5 kha; plus/minus is 1-sigma) on average every year during the 2007-2018 period. ...
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The Colombian Orinoco savannas (254 thousand km ² ), also known as Orinoquia or Llanos, have been steadily transformed into pastures for more than a century, and since the 1990s, into commodity crop intensified production. The cropland area expanded at 12% yr ⁻¹ during the 2007–2018 period (65% larger than in 1996–2007). Yet, we estimate that cattle ranching occupied ten times more area (34%) than cropland (3.2%) in 2018. The rest of Orinoquia, including indigenous reservations and protected areas, was in a semi-natural state, although also exposed to seasonal fire. The three main crops, oil palm, corn, and rice (72% of the sown area in 2017), accounted for 68% of the expansion, with permanent crops expanding two times faster (18% yr ⁻¹ ) than short-cycle crops. An extrapolation of trends indicates that the cultivated area will double by 2040 (reaching 20 thousand km ² ), with oil palm as the dominant crop. Satellite measurements show that 7% of Orinoquia burned every year during the 1997–2016 period, yet with large spatial and interannual variations (±26%), and significant decrease trends (up to −4% yr ⁻¹ ). Up to 40% of the burned area (BA) interannual variability was linked to irregular rainfall and drought. The areas with the larger fractional BA were also those with the least fractional cropland cover. A model developed to describe this coupling, along with rainfall and other effects, successfully explained most of Orinoquia’s BA variability ( r 2 = 0.93). The fitted model indicates that each sown hectare reduced the BA by 0.17 ha. This model predicts that the combination of cropland expansion and independent BA decline will lead to a fourfold reduction of Orinoquia’s BA by 2040 referred to 1997. Orinoquia’s crop production generated 3 Gg of PM10 (particulate matter <10 µm) in 2016, mostly from short-cycle crops, while biomass burning generated 57 Gg, i.e., 95% of the combined emissions. These are expected to halve during the 2017–2040 period, despite an 83% increase in crop production emissions, as total and seasonal emissions will remain controlled by biomass burning. Such a large pollution burden reduction should have tremendous positive impacts on public health in Orinoquia and the Andes.
... Si bien la expansión del cultivo de palma de aceite ha tenido una fuerte asociación con la deforestación de zonas naturales en los principales países productores (Khasanah, 2019), en Colombia se reporta una situación diferente, puesto que el crecimiento del área sembrada se ha dado a partir de la conversión de zonas antes ocupadas por matorrales, tierras de cultivo y pasturas para ganado (Castanheira et al., 2014;Castiblanco et al., 2013;Furumo y Aide, 2017;Henson et al., 2012). ...
... Las mejoras propuestas dependen de un aumento en el rendimiento del cultivo de palma, una reducción en el uso de fertilizantes químicos, la mitigación del LUC y la producción de biomasa de valor agregado. Para mitigar las emisiones generados por LUC, los cultivos de palma de aceite deben ser establecidos en suelos con bajas reservas de carbono, como suelos degradados o de uso agrícola (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Wicke et al., 2012). Sin embargo, cuando esto ocurre puede desplazarse la producción de alimentos y forrajes hacia otros áreas (Gerssen-Gondelach, 2015). ...
... La escala regional se enfoca en un análisis de las tres zonas palmeras mencionadas anteriormente, las cuales tienen diferencias en términos de clima, tipo de suelo, cobertura terrestre y biodiversidad (WWF Colombia, 2017), así como distintos enfoques de manejo agroindustrial (Castiblanco et al., 2015;Henson et al., 2012). Debido a ciertas limitaciones para obtener información completa y actualizada sobre el LUC, se emplearon datos nacionales (Torres, 2018) y regionales (Castiblanco et al., 2013) reportados por otros trabajos, asumiendo que estos son representativos del tipo de LUC y de los efectos de las reservas de carbono. No obstante, es pertinente mencionar que existe cierto grado de incertidumbre frente al tema. ...
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La expansión de las plantaciones de palma de aceite, tanto para la extracción de aceite de palma crudo (APC) como para la elaboración de productos de origen biológico, ha generado gran preocupación en torno al impacto de las emisiones de gases de efecto invernadero (GEI) de este cultivo. Aunque Colombia tiene el potencial para producir bienes de origen biológico sostenibles a partir del cultivo de palma de aceite, las emisiones nacionales de GEI no han sido reportadas para este sector. Por ello, la recolección de datos primarios consolidados del sector palmicultor colombiano representa un interesante desafío. A partir de ese interés, el presente estudio logró la recolección de datos del 70 % de la producción nacional de racimos de fruta fresca (RFF) con el fin de analizar el estado actual de la producción de APC, incorporando información sobre (i) el cálculo de emisiones de GEI, (ii) la relación de energía neta (NER, por sus siglas en inglés) y (iii) el desempeño económico del proceso.
... A pesar de este último caso, y a que el país cuenta con una gran proporción de bosques vulnerables (Furumo & Mitchell, 2017), la expansión del cultivo en Colombia se ha llevado a cabo en tierras previamente transformadas; contrario a lo que ocurrió en otros países de Suramérica (Ecuador, Perú y Brasil) y Asia (Indonesia, Malasia y Papúa Nueva Guinea) (Vijay et al., 2016). Específicamente, desde 1990, solo el 9 % de la reciente expansión reemplazó fragmetos forestales y bosques en regeneración, en lugar de bosques primarios (Castiblanco, Etter, & Aide, 2013). En otras palabras, el 91 % de la expansión de la palma de aceite en Colombia se produjo en tierras previamente intervenidas o bajo alguna forma de sistema de producción, principalmente, vegetación herbácea o pastizales (no de sabanas inundables) para ganadería (59 %), cultivos de ciclo corto (30 %) y banano (2 %) en los departamentos de Norte de Santander (35 %), Santander (18 %), Cesar (18 %) y Bolívar (20 %) (Furumo & Mitchell, 2017). ...
... decir que la palma de aceite no es un monocultivo sino un sistema agroforestal complejo entre la palma, las coberturas leguminosas que mejoran las características fisicoquímicas del suelo y las plantas nectaríferas que alimentan a los insectos benéficos y polinizadores (Ruiz & Molina, 2014). De hecho, al comparar la diversidad de hormigas, escarabajos, aves y anfibios presentes en las plantaciones de palma de aceite, los pastizales mejorados y los bosques naturales circundantes, se encuentra que las plantaciones de palma reportan una riqueza superior a la de los pastos mejorados en los cuatro grupos taxonómicos, así como una diversidad mayor en especies de escarabajos en comparación con los bosques (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Gilroy et al., 2014). Así mismo, los modelos de ocupación de las especies señalan que las plantaciones de palma de aceite soportan una mayor proporción de especies características de bosques naturales y sus coberturas forestales circundantes (en un radio de 250 m), influenciando positivamente las comunidades de aves. ...
... Adicionalmente, es pertinente mencionar que actualmente existen incentivos estatales para que diferentes agentes inversores adquieran tierras marginales (principalmente pastizales) para continuar su expansión (Furumo & Mitchell, 2017). Lo anterior significa que el cultivo de palma de aceite en Colombia no fue ni es un monocultivo, no reemplazó bosques tropicales, no agotó la biodiversidad del país, ni causó contaminación del agua o el aire (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Furumo & Mitchell, 2017;Gilroy et al., 2014;León-Sicard et al., 2003;Vijay et al., 2016). ...
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La palma de aceite es un commodity entre los cultivos oleaginosos que provee el aceite vegetal más utilizado en el mundo. Sin embargo, este cultivo ha estado en el centro de la controversia ambiental debido a los efectos de su reciente expansión. En Colombia, a diferencia del Sudeste Asiático, la expansión del cultivo de palma de aceite se ha producido en tierras previamente transformadas o utilizadas bajo otro sistema productivo, por lo que sus consecuencias ambien-tales son considerablemente menores. Para confirmarlo, se describió el sistema productivo colom-biano a través de la compilación de diversos estudios relacionados con el balance de carbono, la huella hídrica y la conservación de la biodiversidad. Los resultados de este análisis señalan que el agroecosistema de la palma de aceite en Colombia es similar a un bosque, no solo por su Y D R M Investigadora asociada.
... The current main producing areas in the Central and Northern regions were mainly classified as having "severe restrictions". This last point led to the rejection of this study by Castiblanco et al. (2013), who criticized the coarse scale of the maps and their non-correspondence with the realities of current production. ...
... According to the second important study (Castiblanco et al. 2013), to reach the 3.5 million t by 2020 target would require an additional 930,000 ha to be planted with oil palm by that year, an area which they argue will not be reached. A further target (also mentioned in connection with 2020) has been expressed in terms of area to be planted: 3.5 million ha. ...
... Given that the most favored areas for oil palm expansion are on underutilized cattle pastures (Castiblanco et al. 2013 predict 50% to take place there, notably on the plains of the llanos), there is some truth in this statement. However, the prediction also suggests 19% will occur on agricultural land and 13% on areas currently under natural vegetation. ...
... While establishing oil palm plantations in areas that previously had shrubs or grasslands, debt-free can be obtained (Khasanah et al., 2015). Although oil palm expansion has been associated with deforestation in the lead producing countries (Khasanah, 2019) a different situation has been reported for Colombia, where the oil palm expansion has been associated mainly with the conversion of scrublands, croplands, and savannas (Henson et al., 2012) (Castiblanco et al., 2013) (Castanheira et al., 2014 (Furumo and Aide, 2017). ...
... Future scenario A. The improvements proposed are influenced by an increase in yield, a reduction in the use of chemical fertilizers, LUC mitigation, and value-added biomass production. To mitigate LUC emissions, oil palm must be planted on land with a lower carbon stock such as marginal lands or conventional agricultural land (Wicke et al., 2012) (Castiblanco et al., 2013). However, when it occurs on agricultural lands, it may produce the displacement of the production of food and feed elsewhere (Gerssen-Gondelach, 2015). ...
... The regional scale focuses on an analysis of the three oil palm regions in Colombia, which differ in terms of climate, soil type, land cover, and biodiversity (WWF-Colombia, 2017), and have unique agroindustrial management approaches (Castiblanco et al., 2015) (Henson et al., 2012). Due to the limitations in obtaining complete and recent LUC information, national data (Torres, 2018) and regional data (Castiblanco et al., 2013) were obtained. We assumed that these studies are representative of the type of LUC and carbon stock effects; however, is a degree of uncertainty is present. ...
Article
Increasing oil palm plantations, both for obtaining crude palm oil (CPO) and for the production of biobased products, have generated growing concern about the impact of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions on the environment. Colombia has the potential to produce sustainable biobased products from oil palm. Nevertheless, national GHG emissions have not yet been reported by this sector. Achieving the collection of the total primary data from the oil palm sector, in Colombia, entails a tremendous challenge. Notwithstanding, for this study, the data collection of 70% of the production of fresh fruit bunches (FFB) was achieved. Therefore, current situation of CPO production in Colombia is analyzed, including 1) GHG emissions calculation, 2) net energy ratio (NER), and 3) economic performance. Moreover, the analysis includes two future scenarios, where the CPO production chain is optimized to reduce GHG emissions. Future scenario A produces biodiesel (BD), biogas, cogeneration, and compost; while future scenario B produces BD, biogas, cogeneration, and pellets. The methodology, for all the scenarios, includes life-cycle assessment and economic analysis evaluation. The results show a significant potential for improving the current palm oil production, including a 55% reduction in GHG emissions. The impact of land-use change must be mitigated to reduce GHG emissions. Therefore, a sustainable oil palm expansion should be in areas with low carbon stock or areas suitable/available to the crop (e.g., cropland, pastureland). Avoiding the deforestation of natural forests is required. Besides, crop yield should be increased to minimize the land use, using biomass to produce biobased products, and capture biogas to reduce methane emissions. In the biodiesel production life-cycle, the NER analysis shows the fossil energy consumed is lower than the renewable energy produced. Regarding the economic performance, it shows that in an optimized production chain, the capital expenditure and operational expenditure will decrease by approximately 20%.
... The best place for planting the crop is on the flat or gently undulating ground (Verheye 2010, Paterson et al. 2013, Abubakar et al. 2022a, 2022b. Oil palm is a very lucrative crop and a highyielding oil plant (Corley & Tinker 2008, Castiblanco et al. 2013. It is economically the most efficient of all oil crops because of its ease of establishment, low costs, and high output (Dislich et al. 2017). ...
... Palm oil and other products derived from oil palm are found in a variety of products such as lipstick, pizza dough, instant noodles, shampoo, ice cream, detergent, margarine, chocolate, cookies, biodiesel, soap, packaged bread. The product is also found in frying fats, biscuits, snack foods, bakery products, cosmetics, candles, pharmaceuticals, and supermarket goods, etc. (Nagaraj 2009, Teoh 2010, Sutton & Kpentey 2012, Castiblanco et al. 2013, Paterson & Lima 2018. Oil palm is highly produced by the following countries: Indonesia, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Ivory Coast, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, and Ecuador (Corley & Tinker 2003, Paterson et al. 2013, Abubakar et al. 2022a, 2022b, Abubakar et al. 2022a, 2022b. ...
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In recent years, palm oil production has grown rapidly as a result of rising demand. Oil palm plantations have been established on thousands of acres to meet this demand. The objective of this study is to assess the suitability of oil palm production as driven by soil, climate, and land use. The land suitability assessment (LSA) method was adopted in this study. We use geospatial techniques of overlay mapping as a suitable land suitability assessment method, in which the evaluation criteria are recorded as superimposed layers. A land suitability map is produced by integrating these layers into a single layer. The method is also applied to delineate available areas for growing oil palm in Peninsular Malaysia. The findings revealed that suitable soil areas for oil palm production are extensively found in the selected regions of Peninsular Malaysia, in states like Selangor and some parts of Kedah, Kelantan, and Terengganu with clay loam and sandy loam soil properties, while in the southern region like Melaka, moderate suitability for oil palm production was found due to the domination of clay soil in the area. Highly suitable areas were estimated (mean annual water deficit <150 mm) to be 3688254.00 ha (29.54%) of the total land area; suitable areas (mean annual water deficit <250 mm) were 6540669.00 ha (52.38%); moderately suitable areas were (mean annual water deficit <400 mm) 2227500.00 ha (17.84%), and unsuitable areas (mean annual water deficit >400mm) for oil palm production as a result of poor water availability was 31104.00ha (0.25%). The Land Use Land Cover Map of Peninsular Malaysia revealed the suitable areas to cover an average of 10885001.46 ha (82.45%), water bodies 1239505.58 ha (9.39%), built-up areas (unsuitable areas) 1051544.34 ha (7.96%), and bare surface areas are also not suitable areas for oil palm production at 26509.73 ha (0.20%). This study recommends that oil palm plantations be expanded into areas with highly suitable soils and climates.
... Another expanding land-use, afforestation, is often viewed as a winwin for forestry industries and the environment due to the carbon sequestration benefits that come with growing trees within perceived low carbon environments (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Veldman et al., 2015). Afforestation, the process of planting trees at high densities (forests or for commercial purposes including oil palm, eucalyptus, and pine) in areas where they do not occur naturally, is often confused with reforestation, which is the process of re-planting trees where they once naturally occurred. ...
... With this increasingly globalised trade for a range of commodities, tropical savannahs are being affected by socioeconomic factors thousands of kilometres away (Wesz, 2016). This is particularly concerning given agricultural expansion into savannahs is frequently unregulated (Vargas et al., 2015), incentivized (Australian Government, 2015; Departamento Nacional de Planeación, 2019; Morán-Ordóñez et al., 2017), seen as a win-win for development and environmental goals (Castiblanco et al., 2013), and impacts go undocumented (Clements and Fernandes, 2013;Müller et al., 2015) when compared to other ecosystem types. ...
Article
All tropical savannahs are experiencing extensive transformation and degradation, yet conservation strategies do not adequately address threats to savannahs. Here, using a recently published ecosystem intactness metric, we assess the current condition of tropical savannahs across Earth, finding that <3 % remain highly intact. Moreover, their overall levels of protection are low, and of the protected savannahs, just 4 % can be considered highly intact while the majority (>60 %) are in poor condition. In order to address the clear mismatch between the decline in tropical savannah ecosystems’ condition and the response to manage and conserve them, we reviewed the current drivers that lead to tropical savannah degradation and identified conservation approaches being used to address them. Many successful conservation approaches address multiple drivers of change but are applied across small areas. We argue these approaches have the potential to be up-scaled through integrated land-use planning.
... Migrant colonist agricultural systems, in general initially based on rice production, were also problematic, plagued by production and marketing problems, labor issues, and agronomic failure, with real problems of soil nutrient decline and low yields, using varieties and practices not adapted to local conditions, largely as a function of faulty extension and unadapted practices. These issues were exacerbated by titling insecurities, rural violence, very high colonist attrition rates, and high turnover (Hall 2000;Murphy 2001;Etter et al. There was also military environmentalism, as far as it went. ...
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Chapter
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This Report provides a comprehensive, objective, open, transparent, systematic, and rigorous scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon’s ecosystems, current trends, and their implications for the long-term well-being of the region, as well as opportunities and policy relevant options for conservation and sustainable development.
... Como se discute en los capítulos 5 y 6, los motores de mayor incidencia en la transformación de distintos ecosistemas del país, se encuentran vinculados a la transformación del uso del suelo por expansión de frontera agrícola y ganadera Rodríguez Eraso et al., 2013), consolidación de enclaves productivos como el cultivo de palma de aceite (Boron et al., 2016;Castiblanco et al., 2013) o el desarrollo petrolero en el caso de los llanos orientales (Romero- Rodríguez et al., 2014), e igualmente el desarrollo de proyectos de infraestructura (i.e vías) (Gómez-Ossa & Botero-Fernández, 2017;(Romero-Rodríguez et al., 2014) y la expansión urbana (Aldana-Domínguez et al., 2018). Los efectos de estos motores son el cambio en la funcionalidad, debido a la transformación de propiedades y atributos de los ecosistemas por la reducción, por ejemplo, en el áreas de las coberturas naturales y su fragmentación (pérdida de conectividad) con la consecuente alteración de la biodiversidad. ...
... A nivel local y sectorial, los pocos estudios sobre escenarios se enfocan en evaluar la expansión agrícola y ganadera y sus efectos sobre la conservación de ecosistemas naturales, abordando el uso del suelo como el factor principal que puede tener efectos sobre la biodiversidad, servicios ecosistémicos y bienestar de las poblaciones. Se destacan los trabajos relacionados con el sector agrícola industrial de palma de aceite, como el realizado por Castiblanco et al., (2013), donde se evalúa la expansión del sector a 2020, a partir de transiciones históricas de uso de la tierra, políticas de subsidios, demandas y metas proyectadas y uso de variables biofísicas. Los resultados son disímiles, siendo el más cercano a la realidad el escenario de subsidios, el cual se encuentra muy lejos de alcanzar las expectativas del gobierno. ...
... Others identified agriculture as a proximate cause of current FCC (Etter et al., (Boron et al., 2016). Moreover, the literature highlights the possible risk that palm oil expansion will occur in areas of the colonization frontier (Castiblanco et al., 2013), which feature high forest cover. ...
... Salazar et al. (2018) mentioned that the economic importance of mining activities in Colombia have been increasing in the last 20 years. Mining activities could increase after the signing of the peace agreement due to targets aimed at boosting mining and biofuel production as a way to fuel the country's economic development (Castiblanco et al., 2013). Therefore, the impact of mining and energy production activities could increase in the coming years if the government does not take precautionary measures. ...
Article
Tackling deforestation remains a significant challenge in tropical countries and even more so in those affected by armed conflicts. This is partly because of the limited local understanding of the causes of forest cover changes (FCC) and how these causes relate to development. In this study, we use Colombia as a model to contribute to the understanding of the links between the causes of FCC in conflict-affected countries and policies aimed at achieving sustainable development by targeting the agriculture, forestry and other land use (AFOLU) sectors. Specifically, we reviewed studies reporting on causes of FCC from 1995 to 2019 to build a state-of-the-art review. We then identified relevant public policies targeting AFOLU sectors and used them as a proxy for development. Finally, we discussed the links between these public policies and FCC. From the reviewed literature, it is clear that research on FCC in Colombia has focused on understanding the causes of forest cover losses while disregarding forest cover gains. Although cattle ranching and agriculture dominate the literature as proximate causes of deforestation and policy and institutional factors as underlying causes of deforestation, the relative importance of proximate and underlying causes of FCC in Colombia has changed over time. The main categories of policies that have been linked to FCC deal with conflict and post-conflict issues, coca eradication and, more recently, the implementation of the peace agreement. Another set of policies frequently mentioned are those related to productive activities. In Colombia, these policies' effects on forests will depend on how the state will regulate extractive activities in a post-conflict scenario. Therefore, it is imperative to review and update policies to tackle FCC, mainly deforestation, to successfully achieve sustainability targets in Colombia.
... Migrant colonist agricultural systems, in general initially based on rice production, were also problematic, plagued by production and marketing problems, labor issues, and agronomic failure, with real problems of soil nutrient decline and low yields, using varieties and practices not adapted to local conditions, largely as a function of faulty extension and unadapted practices. These issues were exacerbated by titling insecurities, rural violence, very high colonist attrition rates, and high turnover (Hall 2000;Murphy 2001;Etter et al. There was also military environmentalism, as far as it went. ...
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Chapter
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This chapter presents country-specific descriptions of human intervention in the Amazon. In general, a rapid expansion of agricultural and extractive activities, mostly for export but also for domestic markets, and to a lesser degree small scale agriculture, have led to extensive deforestation and environmental degradation without substantially improving the living conditions of the population. Government policies and the extent of State ascendancy in the area also seem to be a powerful determinant of the nature and scale of the process. Despite the common underlying international and domestic economic and political forces in the Amazon, each country has its own particularities. In the case of Colombia, the process was shaped by the guerilla presence and deteriorated after the Peace Treaty, which does not mention “deforestation” and perpetuates Colombia’s extractivist model. Ecuador’s case is representative of the link between fossil fuel extraction, environmental deterioration, and social exclusion. The case of Peru shows an Amazon perceived as a territory awaiting to be “conquered, occupied, and exploited”, subjected to an unwavering extractive and market-orientated drive. In Bolivia, contradictions between conservation and state-led development policies and business activities, which have transformed it into the second deforestation hotspot of Amazonia after Brazil, are presented. The Venezuelan Amazon is subject to rampant violence and illegal activity driven by the political geography of gold in mixed configurations of governance, with blurred boundaries between legality and illegality and prevailing negligence concerning conservation. The Guianas share low deforestation levels and lower environmental pressures, but the recent expansion of gold mining poses a serious threat. The Brazilian case presented in the previous Chapter is referenced here when comparing countries’ experienes. Conservation experiences are also included. In all cases, unsustainable extractivist models have outpaced conservation policies; however, these experiences can prove useful in the design of effective conservation policies, reduction of greenhouse gas emissions, and improvements in living conditions of Indigenous peoples and local communities.
... However, the region still hosts endemic and endangered species, and it provides important connectivity between protected areas for several species (Payan-Garrido et al. 2013). Main land cover types are pasture (35%), wetlands (20%), oil palm plantations (19%), secondary forest (12%), water (10%), bare ground (3%), and urban areas (<1%) (Etter and van Wyngaarden 2000;Castiblanco et al. 2013;Boron et al. 2020). ...
... The 95% CIs of the three estimates were between 10.9 and 48.6. The extensive habitat loss that occurred in the Magdalena region due to oil palm plantations and cattle ranching (Castiblanco et al. 2013) could explain our lower ocelot densities albeit overlapping CIs. The latter does not necessarily prove a lack of differences but perhaps the precision of density estimates does not allow detection of such fine differences, which is expected considering the sparse data obtained in felid surveys (Payán 2013). ...
Article
The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a widely distributed, medium-sized felid in the Americas with declining population size. We estimated ocelot densities and home ranges in one agricultural area in the Magdalena River valley in Colombia, a private reserve and cattle ranch in the Colombian Llanos, and a private reserve in the Serra do Amolar in the Brazilian Pantanal. We used camera trapping (39–52 stations) and spatially explicit capture-recapture (SECR) models. Density estimates (individuals/100 km2) were 11.0 ± 2.7 (SE) in the Magdalena River valley; 13.2 ± 3.2 (SE) in the Llanos, and 10.3 ± 2.9 (SE) in the Serra do Amolar. Overall, despite an impact of agriculture and human disturbance, our results highlight the importance of unprotected areas and privately protected ranching areas for ocelot conservation. As agriculture continues to expand across the tropics causing habitat loss, and negatively affecting ocelot densities, we recommend land use planning and best agricultural practices to maintain natural habitats, thereby limiting human impacts on ocelot conservation.
... Migrant colonist agricultural systems, in general initially based on rice production, were also problematic, plagued by production and marketing problems, labor issues, and agronomic failure, with real problems of soil nutrient decline and low yields, using varieties and practices not adapted to local conditions, largely as a function of faulty extension and unadapted practices. These issues were exacerbated by titling insecurities, rural violence, very high colonist attrition rates, and high turnover (Hall 2000;Murphy 2001;Etter et al. There was also military environmentalism, as far as it went. ...
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Book
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The Science Panel for the Amazon (SPA) is an unprecedented initiative convened under the auspices of the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN). The SPA is composed of over 200 preeminent scientists and researchers from the eight Amazonian countries, French Guiana, and global partners. These experts came together to debate, analyze, and assemble the accumulated knowledge of the scientific community, Indigenous peoples, and other stakeholders that live and work in the Amazon. The Panel is inspired by the Leticia Pact for the Amazon. This is a first-of-its-kind Report which provides a comprehensive, objective, open, transparent, systematic, and rigorous scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon’s ecosystems, current trends, and their implications for the long-term well-being of the region, as well as opportunities and policy relevant options for conservation and sustainable development. The three volumes of the final report can be downloaded from: https://www.theamazonwewant.org/amazon-assessment-report-2021/
... National policy actively promotes expansion of such crop production for increased contribution to the future of the biodiesel market. 11 In the Orinoco region, the annual area devoted to the plantation increases at a rate of 7,396.3 ha/year, 12 being one of the most noticeable land use alterations and replacing to a great extent the natural savanna. ...
... 13 Elaeis guineensis plantation establishment in the Orinoco region represents an important risk factor for Chagas disease because it increases the distribution of R. prolixus. 11,12 Moreover, a significant area of current E. guineensis plantations in the Orinoco region replaced pastures and savannas, resulting in an enormous land use change in the region. Finally, E. guineensis plantations in the department of Casanare are often established near human dwellings to facilitate plantation worker accessibility, bringing vectors into close contact with people and increasing the risk of infection with T. cruzi. ...
Article
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Trypanosoma cruzi is the etiological agent of Chagas disease that infects more than seven million people in Latin America. The parasite is transmitted by triatomine insects, of which some species are often associated with palms. The establishment of oil palm plantations (Elaeis guineensis) in the Orinoco region (Colombia) has been rapidly growing, possibly constituting a new environment for the establishment and increase in triatomine populations. In this study, the potential of Rhodnius prolixus to colonize E. guineensis plantations and maintain T. cruzi transmission was assessed. Fieldwork was conducted in two areas located in the department of Casanare for sampling E. guineensis and Attalea butyracea palms, sampling for triatomines to determine their abundance and prevalence of T. cruzi infection. To assess T. cruzi transmission potential in the area, sylvatic and domestic mammals were sampled. Results showed that palm infestation with triatomines was higher in A. butyracea than in E. guineensis palms and T. cruzi infection in triatomines varied between habitats for one study area, but was constant in the other site. Trypanosoma cruzi-infected mammals in the E. guineensis plantations were mainly generalist rodents, suggesting that these mammals could have an important role in T. cruzi transmission in plantations. In conclusion, E. guineensis plantations in the Orinoco region are suitable habitats for R. prolixus and T. cruzi transmission.
... In 2000, despite the armed violence, it was predicted by the National Federation of Oil Palm Growers (Fedepalma), that through the 'joint efforts of the Government and the palm oil sector', by 2020 national production of CPO (crude palm oil) would reach 3.5 million tons, around 9% of future global output (Fedepalma, 2000). The likelihood of this figure being reached by 2020 was challenged by Castiblanco et al. (2013). However, when production levels reached 1.6 million tons in 2017, Fedepalma Director Jens Mesa Dishington suggested that output would increase to 2.5 million tons by 2023, potentially allowing Colombia to replace Thailand as the world's third largest supplier (Volckhausen, 2018b). ...
... (2012),Castiblanco et al. (2013) andOcampo-Peñuela et al. (2018) have agreed that Colombia's oil palm expansion could most easily take place on unproductive pastures. With the exception of the Tumaco area (Southwest zone), it should not involve deforestation. ...
Article
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Between 1993 and 2015 the land planted to oil palm in Colombia increased fourfold, from 119,000ha to 484,000ha. This rapid growth coincided with a period of extreme armed conflict and displacement, with inequality in land distribution reaching the highest levels in Latin America (Oxfam, 2017). These occurrences spurred this inquiry into conditions on the ground in the palm growing zones and the political and economic forces promoting the crop. The theoretical underpinnings are derived from the literature on land grabbing, land control, land concentration and exclusion. Oil palm has been favoured by rural elites, conservative governments and right-wing paramilitaries in an attempted ‘modernising’ of the countryside through agro-industry. Neo-liberal ideas emphasising capital accumulation through the ‘market’ have minimised land reform efforts and impeded post-conflict land restitution. The paper is organised in three main parts. Part 1 introduces the crop and its importance, linked to oil palm's culture of continuous expansion. Relevant theoretical concepts are discussed, together with the background to land and violence in Colombia. Part 2 begins the more detailed analysis of the palm oil industry. A descriptive survey of historical beginnings, modern data availability and distribution of holdings is followed by a more nuanced analysis of industry-induced ‘myths’ and political ‘enablers’ through the Uribe years (2002–10) and the Santos era (2010–2018). In Part 3 the evidence for ‘stolen land’ is examined in representative oil palm locations. The findings are summarised in the conclusion.
... The most extensive land use is cattle grazing on natural Savannah grasslands (Benavides 2010). However, agricultural activities such as oil palm cultivation have become important industries in the region in part due to government incentives (Vargas et al. 2015) and are foreseen to continue increasing (Castiblanco, Etter, and Aide 2013). Five forms of agriculture likely to influence the future of the region include livestock, palm oil, forestry, rice, and soy (DNP 2014). ...
Article
The Orinoco basin is one of the most important hydrologic systems in South America. The Colombian Orinoco basin occupies an area of approx. thirty-four million hectares, located in the country's east. The literature about the economic valuation of ecosystem services (ES) and the spatial information on natural resources in the Colombian Orinoco basin was revised through various information sources to document the earliest approximation to the state, spatial distribution, and economic value of the natural capital at the scale of biomes, specific ecosystems, and political-administrative units. Our assessment estimated a natural capital loss of 200 billion Int.$2020/year (74% of Colombian GDP in 2020) and a remnant natural capital worth 296 billion Int.$2020/year (more than 100% of Colombia's GDP in 2020) for twelve ecosystem services. This research proves that a potential expansion in livestock production systems will generate an additional loss of natural capital of approximately 282 billion Int.$2020/year. Additionally, we include an analysis based on the GLOBIO4 initiative models, identifying future natural capital losses between 4.8 and 33 billion Int.$2020/year. Lastly, the policy challenges and gaps in research and management concerning this remaining natural capital in the Colombian Orinoco basin are pointed out.
... The Chinese economy highly depends on agriculture and it is estimated that more than 29.4 million hectares of land were being used as paddy land to grow rice (Peng et al., 2009). At the end of the 19th century, the global market demand for cash crops (vegetables and fruits) expanded rapidly (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Zhang et al., 2014), in addition to reduce agricultural effluent water pollution, and increase the sustainability of agricultural production many paddy lands (PL) were converted into dry land (DL) (Jiao et al., 2017;Wu et al., 2017). ...
Article
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Agricultural land use changes are essential in addressing global urbanization demands. The improper management of agricultural land may lead to the alteration of the microbial ecosystem, which ultimately affects soil quality. Here, we assessed how soil microbial diversity, communities, and physicochemical properties in three layers of soil; upper (0-15 cm), middle (15-30 cm), and lower (30-45 cm), responded to a long-term land use change from paddy land (PL) to dry land of different chronosequences; PD3 (3 years), PD5 (5 years), and PD10 (10 years). We found PL conversion into dry lands increased soil pH, soil 3 phase R-value, bulk density (BD), organic matter (OM), total phosphorus (TP), total nitrogen (TN), and decreased electrical conductivity (EC), water holding capacity (WHC), and moisture content (MC) in all three layers. The land use change from PL to dry lands initially (PD3) decreased (11-25 %) bacterial diversity, while it significantly increased in PD5 (0.1-16 %), and PD10 (1-14 %) in all three layers. Unlike bacterial diversity, fungal diversity was high in PD5 in the upper layer, while the middle and lower layer was the least affected. We also found the conversion of PL to dry land altered relative abundance (RA) of bacteria on the upper layer, while RA of fungi was reshaped in all three layers. The Pearson's correlation coefficient showed that MC, OM, pH, R-value, TN, TP, and WHC were important physicochemical factors, which significantly (P < 0.05) influenced Nitrospirae, Chloroflexi, Proteobacteria, and Basidiomycota composition. Briefly, our study show that land use change initially (3 years) caused huge changes in the microbiome, which improved somehow in further years (5 and 10 years), and we conclude that land use changes impact positively on functional biodiversity and biological quality of the soil.
... This oversight is problematic because the Llanos, like other savanna ecosystems around the globe, are threatened by renewed interests in arable land for agriculture (Andrade et al., 2013;Gücker et al., 2009;Lavelle et al., 2014;Veldman et al., 2015). Drastic land-use change due to mechanized agriculture, extensive monocultures of oil palm or seasonal crops, and massive afforestation projects using exotic timber species is jeopardizing the ecological stability and resilience of the Llanos (Castiblanco, 2014;Castiblanco et al., 2013;Romero-Ruiz et al., 2012;Vargas et al., 2015). In fact, if land transformation of the Colombian Llanos remains unregulated, ecosystem integrity may be lost through irreversible changes in the composition of its biodiversity (Andrade et al., 2013;Romero-Ruiz et al., 2012). ...
Article
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The Altillanura is a unique ecosystem within the Colombian Llanos, characterized by well-drained savannas and extensive riparian forests. The Altillanura harbors a rich assemblage of species, largely understudied and currently under threat by large-scale and unplanned agribusiness. Moreover, the number of public protected areas in the Colombian Llanos, particularly in the Altillanura, is insufficient to conserve the threatened habitats and species. Therefore, conservation efforts by private reserves are crucial for the protection of the region’s biodiversity. Here we present the first species list of the Tomogrande, a private nature reserve and scientific research field station in the municipality of Santa Rosalía, Vichada, Colombia. After ten years of ongoing research, we have recorded 299 species of plants, 189 species of birds, and 47 species of mammals. Compared to other private nature reserves in Vichada and the Tuparro National Park, the largest protected area in the region, Tomogrande makes a substantial contribution to the conservation of all three taxonomic groups. We advocate that better landscape planning and sustainable practices should become mandatory in the Altillanura to protect its biodiversity and the livelihoods of all stakeholders that inhabit this region.
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Chapter
This Report provides a comprehensive, objective, open, transparent, systematic, and rigorous scientific assessment of the state of the Amazon’s ecosystems, current trends, and their implications for the long-term well-being of the region, as well as opportunities and policy relevant options for conservation and sustainable development.
... We identified large differences in yield among plantations, suggesting substantial yield gaps. Depending on the cause(s) of these differences, it is possible that yield could be improved considerably in many plantations in this study, potentially facilitating productivity increase without further land-use change. In theory, such yield improvements could help conserve rainforest in Southeast Asia and other tropical regions Castiblanco et al. 2013;Greenpeace, 2012;Vijay et al. 2016;Wilcove et al. 2013). However, improving crop yields can lead to greater incentives for expansion, owing to higher returns from land-use change Carrasco et al. 2014), particularly if markets are elastic (i.e., demands increase as the price decreases) (Hertel 2012). ...
Article
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Background Oil palm is a key driver of deforestation, but increasing yields in existing plantations could help meet rising global demands, while avoiding further conversion of natural habitat. Current oil palm plantations present substantial opportunities for sustainable intensification, but the potential for local yield improvements depends partly on the role of climate in determining yield. Methods We determine the importance of local climatic conditions for oil palm yields in 12 commercial plantations in Peninsular and East Malaysia (Borneo), during 2006–2017. We quantify relationships between climatic conditions (raw and anomalised monthly temperature and rainfall data) and yield for lag times up to 36 months prior to harvest, corresponding to key stages in oil palm fruit development. Results Overall, climatic conditions explained < 1% of the total variation in yield. In contrast, variation in yield among plantations accounted for > 50% of the explained variation in yield (of total R ² = 0.38; median annual fresh fruit bunch yield 16.4–31.6 t/ha). The main climatic driver of yield was a positive effect of maximum monthly temperature during inflorescence development (Spearman’s Rho = 0.30), suggesting that insufficient solar radiation is the main climatic constraint to yield in our study sites. We also found positive impacts of rainfall during key stages of fruit development (infloresence abortion and sex determination: Spearman’s Rho 0.06 and 0.08 respectively, for rainfall anomalies), suggesting minor effects of water-limitation on yield; and a negative impact of maximum temperature during the month of harvest (Spearman’s Rho – 0.14 for temperature anomalies), suggesting possible heat stress impacts on plantation workers. Conclusions Our findings imply a relatively minor role of climate in determining yield, and potentially substantial yield gaps in some commercial plantations in Malaysia (possibly up to ~ 50%). Thus, there appear to be substantial opportunities for improving oil palm yield in existing plantations in Malaysia, with further research needed to identify the drivers of such yield gaps.
... In the lead-producing countries, the environmental impacts are also associated with deforestation, biodiversity loss, land-use change, soil quality, landscape deterioration, and greenhouse gas emissions by removing carbon stock from the soil [7]. In Colombia, the situation is different because the oil palm has been correlated with the conversion of scrublands, croplands, and savannas [8][9][10]. The solid biomass from POM is composed of empty fruit bunches (EFB) in a mass ratio of 22 to hydrocarbons (AHs) formation. ...
Article
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The effect of zinc sulfate as a catalyst on the pyrolysis of empty fruit bunches (EFB) from oil palm was assessed. Thus, a thermo-gravimetric analyzer coupled with a Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (TG-FTIR) was used, while the percentage of catalyst varied between 0 wt% and 3 wt% at different heating rates (10, 30, and 50 K/min). The kinetic parameters (activation energy, pre-exponential factor, and reaction order) and activation energy distribution were calculated using three kinetic models. The thermogravimetric curves for the EFB pyrolysis showed three prominent peaks in which the maximum mass loss rate was mainly due to cellulose and lignin pyrolysis. On the other hand, FTIR analysis indicated that the main gaseous products were CO2, CO, H2O, CH4, NH3, acids, and aldehydes (CH3COOH). The samples with 2 wt% of catalyst presented higher activation energies in pseudo reactions 1 and 2, ranging between 181,500 kJ/mol–184,000 kJ/mol and 165,200 kJ/mol–165,600 kJ/mol, respectively. It was highlighted that the first pseudo reaction with an activation energy range between 179,500 kJ/mol and 184,000 kJ/mol mainly contributes to the cellulose pyrolysis, and the second pseudo reaction (165,200 kJ/mol–165,600 kJ/mol) could be ascribed to the hemicellulose pyrolysis.
... It would be a challenge to protect an entire sub-basin without considering the needs of its inhabitants; thus, conservation strategies must be implemented that both protect and allow a certain amount of use (Abell et al., 2007). Freshwater systems face inherent challenges, such as those caused by hydroelectric power plants (Finer and Jenkins, 2012) and by the exploitation or use of natural resources for human subsistence (Boron et al., 2019;Castiblanco et al., 2013), which are especially difficult to handle considering protected areas allow no human intervention (Abell et al., 2008). Some of the conservation efforts for this species have suggested to conduct reintroductions, but these proposals are expensive, tedious, and ineffective (Mancera- Rodríguez, 2017). ...
Article
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One of the main challenges in conservation biogeography of freshwater fishes is the improvement of conservation planning strategies. Nonetheless, the implementation of such strategies has lagged in freshwater systems, limiting their protection to the priorities of land organisms. Since the repercussions and relative importance for conservation across freshwater species can vary tremendously, and the application of such strategies requires information on multiple species, it is valuable to consider extensible and straightforward approaches that can be applied to single species. Here we use a freshwater fish species native to the Colombian Andes (Brycon henni) as a model to implement a methodology for spatial conservation prioritization considering four criteria: i) representativeness (protection of species distribution), ii) viability (maximizing probability of success), iii) complementarity (recognition of the currently protected area network), and iv) connectivity (promoting connectivity amongst protected areas). Using the proposed methodology based on the potential distribution of B. henni and hydrographic sub-basins as planning units, we recommend the protection of nine sub-basins climatically suitable for the species and with strategic river corridors that would promote the connection amongst basins and the currently protected areas. This methodological proposal can contribute to the current strategy design implemented by the National System of Protected Areas in Colombia to conserve or recover ecosystems and fragmented natural habitats, providing design options that meet ecological and socioeconomic objectives. Lastly, we consider that the methodology proposed here could be used with a more significant number of species of interest and implemented on a regional and global scale.
... Palm oil and cocoa plantations have also expanded across the South American continent (Furumo and Aide, 2017;Graesser et al., 2015). Colombia, Ecuador and Peru are three of the largest 10 global producers of palm oil (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Gutiérrez-Vélez et al., 2011) ...
Thesis
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Changes in global land cover (LC) have significant consequences for global environmental change, impacting the sustainability of biogeochemical cycles, ecosystem services, biodiversity, and food security. Different forms of LC change have taken place across the world in recent decades due to a combination of natural and anthropogenic drivers, however, the types of change and rates of change have traditionally been hard to quantify. This thesis exploits the properties of the recently released ESA-CCI-LC product – an internally consistent, high-resolution annual time-series of global LC extending from 1992 to 2018. Specifically, this thesis uses a combination of trajectories and transition maps to quantify LC changes over time at national, continental and global scales, in order to develop a deeper understanding of what, where and when significant changes in LC have taken place and relates these to natural and anthropogenic drivers. This thesis presents three analytical chapters that contribute to achieving the objectives and the overarching aim of the thesis. The first analytical chapter initially focuses on the Nile Delta region of Egypt, one of the most densely populated and rapidly urbanising regions globally, to quantify historic rates of urbanisation across the fertile agricultural land, before modelling a series of alternative futures in which these lands are largely protected from future urban expansion. The results show that 74,600 hectares of fertile agricultural land in the Nile Delta (Old Lands) was lost to urban expansion between 1992 and 2015. Furthermore, a scenario that encouraged urban expansion into the desert and adjacent to areas of existing high population density could be achieved, hence preserving large areas of fertile agricultural land within the Nile Delta. The second analytical chapter goes on to examine LC changes across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), a complex and diverse environment, through the joint lenses of political regions and ecoregions, differentiating between natural and anthropogenic signals of change and relating to likely drivers. The results reveal key LC change processes at a range of spatial scales, and identify hotspots of LC change. The major five key LC change processes were: (i) “gain of dry forests” covered the largest extent and was distributed across the whole of SSA; (ii) “greening of deserts” found adjacent to desert areas (e.g., the Sahel belt); (iii) “loss of tree-dominated savanna” extending mainly across South-eastern Africa; (iv) “loss of shrub-dominated savanna” stretching across West Africa, and “loss of tropical rainforests” unexpectedly covering the smallest extent, mainly in the DRC, West Africa and Madagascar. The final analytical chapter considers LC change at the global scale, providing a comprehensive assessment of LC gains and losses, trajectories and transitions, including a complete assessment of associated uncertainties. This chapter highlights variability between continents and identifies locations of high LC dynamism, recognising global hotspots for sustainability challenges. At the national scale, the chapter identifies the top 10 countries with the largest percentages of forest loss and urban expansion globally. The results show that the majority of these countries have stabilised their forest losses, however, urban expansion was consistently on the rise in all countries. The thesis concludes with recommendations for future research as global LC products become more refined (spatially, temporally and thematically) allowing deeper insights into the causes and consequences of global LC change to be determined.
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Chapter
Full-text available
This chapter discusses the main drivers of deforestation and forest degradation in the Amazon, particularly agricultural expansion, road construction, mining, oil and gas development, forest fires, edge effects, logging, and hunting. It also examines these activities’ impacts and synergies between them.
... Multivariate logistic regression modeling is widely used in the analysis of deforestation patterns, including those due to oil palm expansion, potentially showing the relative influences of different determinants on the probability of expansion (Gaveau et al 2009, Castiblanco et al 2013, Austin et al 2015, Shevade and Loboda 2019. We used this model approach to estimate the probability that the current (2019) land cover is closed-canopy smallholder oil palm in areas that were peat swamp forest in 1990. ...
Article
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Protecting tropical peat swamp forests in Southeast Asia is critical for addressing global sustainability challenges such as climate change and biodiversity loss. However, more than half of these forests have been lost since 1990 due to the rapid expansion of drainage-based agriculture and forestry. Within the oil palm sector, regional smallholder oil palm plantings on peat soils have risen quickly. These activities are challenging to govern and manage due to the numerous farmers and fragmented nature. It is imperative to understand the spatial distribution and drivers of smallholder oil palm-related conversion of peat swamp forests. In contrast to existing studies based on farm surveys, we used state-of-art maps of smallholder oil palm plantings derived from 2019 remote sensing data. Spatial data on socioeconomic and biophysical factors (e.g. mills, roads, water ways, and concessions) was then used to develop logistic regression models to investigate the relative influence of these factors. We show that spatial patterns of smallholder oil palm plantings are distinct from those of industrial oil palm plantations, revealing the critical roles of roads, especially service roads, residential roads and tracks, in driving smallholder oil palm expansion within peatlands. We found that 90% of smallholder oil palm areas were located within 2 km of roads and 25km of mills. The mean likelihood of a given land area being converted from peat swamp forests to smallholder oil palm declined rapidly with increasing distance from roads. In addition to roads, land use zones (e.g., the setting of concessions and migration settlements) and other environmental factors (e.g., precipitation and elevation) were identified as important drivers of smallholder oil palm expansion on peatland. Based on these findings, we identify priority regions for protection of remaining peat swamp forests in Indonesia and discuss strategies for tackling these sustainability challenges on local and global scales.
... A large share (ca. 45%) of the total expansion of OP in Colombia has occurred in the savanna region of Los Llanos in eastern Colombia, and future expansion in this area is predicted to continue (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Etter et al., 2010). Colombian savannas have acidic soils with poor nutrient and soil organic matter content, and high aluminum toxicity (Basamba et al., 2006;Guimarães et al., 2004). ...
Article
Full-text available
In recent decades, mounting evidence has indicated that the expansion of oil palm (OP) plantations at the expense of tropical forest has had a far pernicious effect on ecosystem aspects. While various deforestation-free strategies have been proposed to enhance OP sustainability, field-based evidence still need to be consolidated, in particular with respect to savanna regions where OP expansion has recently occurred and that present large area with potential for OP cultivation. Here we show that the common management practice creating within the plantation the so-called management zones explained nearly five times more variability of soil biogeochemical properties than the savanna land-use change per se. We also found that clayey-soil savanna conversion into OP increased total ecosystem C stocks by 40 ± 13 Mg C ha-1 during a full OP cultivation cycle, which was due to the higher OP-derived C accumulated in the biomass and in the soil as compared to the loss of savanna-derived C. In addition, application of organic residues in specific management zones enhanced the accumulation of soil organic carbon by up to 1.9 Mg ha-1 year-1 over the full cycle. Within plantation, zones subjected to organic amendments sustained similar soil microbial activity as in neighboring savannas. Our findings represent an empirical proof-of-concept that the conversion of non-forested land in parallel with organic matter-oriented management strategies can enhance OP agroecosystems C sink capacity while promoting microbe-mediated soil functioning. Nonetheless, savannas are unique and threatened ecosystems that support a vast biodiversity. Therefore, we suggest to give priority attention to conservation of natural savannas and direct more research toward the impacts of the conversion and subsequent management of degraded savannas.
... Since large scale agricultural activities in Vichada have become lucrative in the past decades, due to government incentives (Vargas et al., 2015) and, according to Castiblanco et al., (2013), these industries will expand even more, there is a need to evaluate the territory in order to determinate the landcover use and recognize the deterioration of natural areas, so resource exploitation and conservation policies can be formulated. Additionally, the impact in biodiversity have been poorly investigated in the area due to the armed conflicts that have occurred over the last 50 years in Colombia (Hoffmann et al., 2018;Romero et al., 2017). ...
Article
Full-text available
Contextualization: Colombia has experienced multiple land-cover changes derived from socio-economic policies that have reduced the high biodiversity of the country. Knowledge gap: In the Orinoquía region, the pressure to expand the agricultural frontier is increasing, without considering the importance of its natural resources. Purpose: This paper aimed to analyze the land-cover variations associated with agricultural practices, in the department of Vichada, with a special interest in vulnerable ecosystems, such as the Bita’s river basin, using Geographic Information System [GIS] analysis of historical images taken by a remote sensor from the United States Geological Service [USGS] Earth Explorer portal. Methodology: Documental review and an analysis of satellite images from 1985 to 2017. Results and conclusions: The results showed that in Vichada, during a 32-year period, there was a transition from forest to cropland and pastures, in which 60% of the forest cover got lost. Moreover, areas of natural savannas were also replaced with pastures for livestock production. These land-cover changes were associated with government policies that fomented illegal occupation of land, monocultures, and non-native plantation forests. Bita’s river basin also lost a significant part of forest cover because of agribusiness development in the municipality of Puerto Carreño (Vichada). These land-cover changes have an impact on the ecological integrity of significant ecosystems and in their functionality in the region, that is why, conservation measures must be implemented.
... These effects, would impact conservation priorities by changing the communities assemblages and the ecosystems integrity. Also, local landscape transformation drivers such as illegal mining (Deheza and Ribet, 2012;Sánchez-Cuervo and Aide, 2013b;Fagua and Ramsey, 2019), large monocultures (Fearnside, 2001;Richards, 2011;Castiblanco et al., 2013), and infrastructure development (Nagendra et al., 2003;Pacheco et al., 2011;Romero-Ruiz et al., 2012) threatens these regions. Therefore, the critical areas identified and their threats become a call that supports decision-making to take urgent conservation actions over these regions (Leal et al., 2005;Tabarelli et al., 2010;Roque et al., 2016). ...
Article
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Given the increasing threats to biodiversity and limited resources for conservation, our knowledge about the uncertainty in surrogates for representing comprehensively the spatial conservation priorities for biodiversity, needs to be improved. We present a comprehensive spatial conservation approach for Neotropical biodiversity by including surrogates for three biodiversity attributes: composition (8563 species), structure (663 ecosystems), and function (5382 ecological groups). We evaluated the differences in the representativeness and surrogacy-level of resulting portfolios for each attribute, considering the differences for current established conservation areas (CAs), prioritized areas (PRAs; those selected to complement the CAs), and total areas (TAs: CAs + PRAs). The assessment included the entire Neotropics, and a regionalization approach using the Global 200 Ecoregions by country. Finally, we identified critical areas for conservation based on the coincidence of irreplaceable PRAs among biodiversity attributes. Our results confirm the premise that no single surrogate represents biodiversity comprehensively, providing quantitative evidence to support the importance of using integrative information of surrogates for different levels of biodiversity into identifying priority areas for conservation. The spatial mismatch in the portfolios of areas shows how the use of a single level of biodiversity would lead to the omission of conservation priorities for other levels. We also identified critical areas for conservation where irreplaceable spatial priorities of the different biodiversity attributes matched. These areas coincided with known critical and threatened global biodiversity hotspots, and are mostly located in the Chaco, the Atlantic Forest, the Pantanal, Cerrado, and Caatinga regions, and the moist and dry forests of the northern Andes and Mesoamerica.
... Since the mid-2000s, palm oil has become a growing threat to Amazonian forests, especially in Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and the eastern part of the Brazilian Amazon (Furumo and Aide, 2017). Although palm oil plantations often replace other agricultural land uses, especially cattle ranching, it has been documented directly replacing primary forests (Castiblanco et al. 2013;de Almeida et al. 2020;Gutiérrez-Vélez and DeFries 2013). For example, between 2007 and 2013, 11% of deforestation in the Peruvian Amazon was driven by oil palm plantations (Vijay et al. 2018). ...
Technical Report
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Deforestation, the complete removal of an area’s forest cover; and forest degradation, the significant loss of forest structure, functions, and processes; are the result of the interaction between various direct drivers, often operating in tandem. By 2018, the Amazon biome had lost approximately 870,000 km2 of its original forest cover, mainly due to agricultural expansion. Other direct drivers of forest loss include the opening of new roads, construction of hydroelectric dams, exploitation of minerals and oil, and urbanization. Impacts of deforestation range from local to global, including local changes in landscape configuration, climate, and biodiversity; regional impacts on hydrological cycles; and global increase of greenhouse gas emissions. Of the remaining Amazonian forests, 17% are degraded, corresponding to approximately 1,036,080 km2. Various anthropogenic drivers, including understory fires, edge effects, selective logging, hunting, and climate change can cause forest degradation. Degraded forests have significantly different structure, microclimate, and biodiversity as compared to undisturbed ones. These forests tend to have higher tree mortality, lower carbon stocks, more canopy gaps, higher temperatures, lower humidity, higher wind exposure, and exhibit compositional and functional shifts in both fauna and flora. Degraded forests can come to resemble their undisturbed counterparts, but this depends on the type, duration, intensity, and frequency of the disturbance event. In some cases, this may prohibit the return to a historic baseline. Avoiding further loss and degradation of Amazonian forests is crucial to ensure they continue to provide valuable and life-supporting ecosystem services.
... The most extensive land use is cattle grazing on natural savannah grasslands. However, agricultural activities such as oil palm cultivation have become lucrative industries in the region in part due to government incentives (Vargas et al 2015), and are foreseen to continue expanding (Castiblanco et al 2013). Five major forms of agriculture likely to influence the future of the region include livestock, palm oil, forestry, rice, and soy (DNP 2014). ...
Article
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As humanity's demand for resources continues to rise and productive arable lands become increasingly scarce, many of Earth's remaining intact regions are at heightened risk of destruction from agricultural development. In situations where agricultural expansion is inevitable, it is important to manage intact landscape transformation so that impacts on environmental values are minimised. Here, we present a novel, spatially explicit, land use planning framework that addresses the decision making needed to account for different, competing economic-environment objectives (agricultural production value, biodiversity conservation, ecosystem service retention) when land use change is inevitable within an intact landscape. We apply our framework to the globally significant savannahs of the Orinoquia (Colombia), which in a post-conflict era is under increased agricultural development pressure. We show that while negative environmental impacts can be reduced through planning, the total area of land converted to agriculture is the unavoidable principal driver of biodiversity and ecosystem service loss. We therefore identify planning solutions that perform well across all objectives simultaneously, despite trade-offs among them. When 15%, 20%, 30% and 40% of the study area is allowed to be converted to agriculture, on average planning can improve species persistence and ecosystem service retention by up to 16%, 15%, 12%, and 9%, respectively, when compared to agricultural-focused solutions. Development in the region so far has had an unnecessarily large impact on environmental objectives due to a lack of effective land use planning, creating an 'opportunity debt'. Our study provides an evidence base to inform proactive planning and the development of environmentally sensible agricultural development policy and practice in the region. This framework can be used by stakeholders to achieve agriculture expansion goals and maximise economic profit while minimising impacts on the environment in the Orinoquia, or any relatively intact region that is being developed.
... The increases in area cultivated with oil palm is not unique to Cameroon. Increasing global demand for CPO and its products has also been met by a rapid expansion of oil palm plantations in other countries, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia [5] at the expense of forest areas creating environmental concerns [6]. Continuous production of fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) in oil palm plantations and milling them to produce CPO has been essential to meet growing demand for palm oil [7]. ...
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In this study we investigate whether the increasing investment in smallholder oil palm plantations that contributes to deforestation is motivated by financial gains or other factors. We evaluate the financial viability of smallholder farmers selling fresh fruit bunches (FFBs) to intermediaries or agro-industrial companies with mills, or processing the FFBs in artisanal mills to produce palm oil. We use data collected in four oil palm production basins in Cameroon and carried out a life cycle assessment of oil palm cultivation and CPO production to understand financial gains. We use payback period (PBP), internal rate of return (IRR), benefit cost ratio (BCR) and net present value (NPV) for 1 ha of oil palm plantation over 28 years at a base discount rate of 8% to asses viability. Our results show that smallholders make more money processing their FFBs in artisanal mills to produce CPO than selling FFBs to intermediaries or agro-industrial companies with mills. The sensitivity analysis show that land ownership is the single most important parameter in the profitability of investment in palm oil cultivation and trade. In addition to land cost, smallholders suffer from borrowing at high interest rates, high field management costs, while recording low on-farm FFB/processing yields. To improve the financial viability of smallholders investing in oil palm cultivation, measures are needed to encourage them to access land, get loans at reduced interest rates, reduce the cost of field management, adopt good agricultural practices to improve on-farm FFB/processing yields, as well as to generate additional revenue from the sale of other products.
... The global cash crop market has expanded rapidly in recent decades (Delpeuch and Leblois, 2014;Su et al., 2017). This has led to landscape changes in many areas, as large amounts of natural or semi-natural land have been transformed into cash crop plantations (Ahrends et al., 2015;Vongvisouk et al., 2016), including tea, coffee, rubber, and palm oil (Abram et al., 2017;Castiblanco et al., 2013;Gatto et al., 2015;Zhang et al., 2015a). As an example, the area of tea cultivation has expanded dramatically in China, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand, and other countries in recent years (Phalan et al., 2009;Su et al., 2017). ...
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The expansion of land being used for cash crop cultivation has threatened wildlife in recent decades. Tea has become the dominant cash crop in southwestern China. Unfortunately, tea plantations may threaten Asian elephant (Elephus maximus) populations via habitat loss and fragmentation. Identifying areas of suitable habitat for tea plant cultivation, and where this habitat overlaps with Asian elephant distribution, is vital for planning land use, managing nature reserves, shaping policy, and maintaining local economies. Here, we assess the potential impact of tea plantations on Asian elephants in southwestern Yunnan province, China. We used MaxEnt modeling with bioclimatic and environmental variables to identify suitable habitat for tea plant cultivation under the current climate scenario, and then overlapped this habitat with 9 known Asian elephant distribution areas (G1–G9) to determine “threatened areas.” Our results showed that (1) annual precipitation (48.1% contribution), temperature constancy (29 % contribution), and slope (8.7 % contribution) were key in determining suitable habitat for tea plants; (2) the cumulative area of suitable habitat for tea plants was 13,784.88 km2, mainly distributed in Menghai (3934.53 km2), Lancang (3198.67 km2), and Jinghong (2657.74 km2); (3) the distribution area of elephants was 943.75 km2, and these areas overlapped with suitable tea plant habitat primarily located in G4 (379.40 km2), G3 (251.18), and G7 (168.03 km2); and (4) threatened areas in G1 and G7 were predominately located along the periphery of current nature reserves. Win-win solutions that work for elephant conservation and economic development include rescoping nature reserve boundaries, strengthening management on the periphery of nature reserves, establishing ecological corridors and new nature reserves within regions where elephants are currently distributed, planting alternative cash crops, and financial subsidies to farmers. This study improves understanding of human-elephant coexistence, and will assist in guiding land use policy for the future conservation outcomes seeking to promote responsible and profitable cash crop farming and elephant conservation.
... It is also noteworthy that farmers' behaviors are essentially a profitseeking activity that follows the market. Due to the growing demand for products of cash crops around the world they have increasingly substituted grains which is a major trend of global land use change (Castiblanco et al., 2013;Zhang et al., 2014). Diversified market demands have also led farmers to diversify their planting strategies, and this has played a significant role in promoting crop diversity (Nordhagen et al., 2017). ...
Article
Crop diversity is crucial for sustainable farmland ecosystems and global sustainability, and thus is a popular subject of research in ecological economics, agricultural science, and geography. Many studies have revealed the individual impacts of government policies or market changes on crop diversity. However, research on the combined effects of both government policy interventions and market-induced substitutions on changing crop diversity remains limited. This study clarifies the underlying mechanisms leading to changes in crop diversity in light of the joint effects of policies on grain subsidy implemented by the government to encourage monocropping as well as the market-induced forces that stimulate diversified planting. We used Hubei Province, one of the main grain-producing areas in Central China, as a case study. The foremost contribution of this study is its exploration of a global understanding of policy-oriented versus market-induced forces in driving changes in crop diversity at the regional level. Policy-oriented forces played a leading role in the past decline in diversity by restraining an increase in market-induced crop diversity. This leading role was reliant on encouraging certain crops through grain subsidies provided according to the farmers' targeted land use to maximize labor productivity. On the whole, strong implementation of policies on grain subsidy have challenged sustainable farmland ecosystems because of the resulting reduction in crop diversity. We argue that the relationship between top-down food security-oriented policies and bottom-up market-induced crop substitutions for a sustainable farmland ecosystem should be immediately and completely coordinated, while regionally differentiated cropping regulations should also be considered.
... As a result, by 2013, Colombia had become the fifth largest producer of palm oil in the world, with the Orinoco region experiencing the fastest expansion of palm cultivation in the country, fuelled by a 'discourse of empty lands' and 'lack of state authority and civil society development' (Selfa et al., 2015(Selfa et al., , p. 1323. Castiblanco et al. (2013) report that the government plans to increase oil palm cultivation to 3 million ha of plantations by 2020, significantly beyond the range of 330,000-930,000 ha predicted by geostatistical models and projections. Because oil palm is only irrigated during the dry season, its large water footprint goes largely unnoticed during most of the year, during which it consumes a large proportion of in-situ (green) water without diverting blue water. ...
Article
The headwaters of the Orinoco are being transformed into an extractive frontier and experiencing drastic water depletion in the dry season. We use the concept of water metabolism to illustrate the impact of the energy sector in a region typically identified with agriculture. Results indicate that oil palm irrigation for biofuel production together with the disposal of production water from oil extraction account for surface water availability being fully allocated during the dry season. We use ranges in water data and generate scenarios to account for the uncertainty generated by inadequate water-use regulation and limited data availability.
... The effect of these agricultural systems on bat diversity is understudied, especially in the regions where the extent of oil palm plantations have been growing exponentially in the country. The biogeographical region of the Orinoquía in Colombia is currently one of the main areas of oil palm expansion in the country, replacing to a greater extent pastures, rice plantations and natural savannas (Ocampo-Peñuela et al. 2018;Castiblanco et al. 2013;Etter et al. 2011). ...
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The surge of oil palm production in the Neotropics has become a major concern about the potential impacts on biodiversity. In the Colombian Orinoquia, which has shown a massive landscape transformation due to the growth of oil palm plantations, the effects of oil palm agriculture on bats in this region have not been studied up to date. To understand the impact of habitat conversion on bat diversity, we characterised bat assemblages in secondary forest and palm plantations in the Colombian Piedmont foothills (Meta, Colombia). We captured 393 individuals (forest = 81, plantation = 312) of 18 species and three families. The forest cover presented three exclusive species while the plantation had five. Species diversity (q1) and evenness (J’) were higher in the forest compared to the plantation. These differences derived from the increase in abundances of generalist species (Artibeus sp., Carollia spp.) in the plantation. Despite the habitat simplification caused by oil palm plantations, this monoculture provides a cover that is used by some bats, decreasing their risk of predation and allowing movement between patches of forest habitat as stepping-stones. Maintaining forest cover in agricultural landscapes favours diversity by generating a “spillover effect” of the forest towards plantations, which in the case of some bats contributes to the reduction of species isolation and the maintenance of ecosystem services provided by them. It is important to improve management practices of oil palm plantations to minimise negative impacts on biodiversity, considering the expansion of this productive system and the scarcity of protected areas in this region.
... Many paddy fields were converted into dry land. This was the main form of internal change in global farmland use [1,2]. The ecosystem service functions of paddy fields are significantly better than those of dry land in terms of climate regulation, flood storage, pollution removal, water loss prevention, biodiversity conservation, etc. [3][4][5]. ...
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Paddy fields are significant in ensuring food security and improving the agricultural ecological environment. In economic terms, paddy field use is affected by input costs and crop market price. There is insufficient understanding of factor input costs caused by agricultural production-factor substitution, driving paddy field change. This study uses a panel regression model to analyze the influence of agricultural production-factor substitution on paddy field use from 1990 to 2016. The case area is Hubei province, China. The results show that the overall growth trend in paddy fields is unequivocal in China’s grain production areas. The improvement in agricultural production conditions, including irrigation and land quality, has a positive effect on the area proportion of paddy fields. With socioeconomic developments, the relationship between the substitution of nitrogen fertilizer for farmland and the area proportion of paddy field is inverted-U shaped, while the effect of the substitution of machinery for labor is U-shaped. The main conclusion is that the process of agricultural production-factor substitution, intended to maximize labor and land productivity, will increase the area proportion of paddy field. Public policies should focus on improving the level of agricultural mechanization and crop diversity to protect food security and sustainable agricultural intensification.
... Despite the environmental risks, the potential socio-economic benefits of oil palm development have led Latin American governments to incentivize its expansion (Castiblanco et al., 2013). For instance, revisions to Brazilian forest legislation mean oil palm is now considered a low-impact crop (Mendes-Oliveira et al., 2017), while the majority of Peruvian oil palm expansion has occurred at the expense of forest, partly driven by tax exemptions for oil palm investments (Gutiérrez-Vélez et al., 2011). ...
Article
Meeting rising demand for oil palm whilst minimizing the loss of tropical biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions is a core conservation challenge. One potential solution is focusing the expansion of high-yielding crops on presently low-yielding farmlands alongside protecting nearby tropical forests that can enhance provision of ecosystem functions. A key question is how this solution would impact invertebrate functional diversity. We focus on oil palm in the Colombian Llanos, where plantations are replacing improved cattle pastures and forest fragments, and on dung beetles, which play key functional roles in nutrient cycling and secondary seed dispersal. We show that functional richness and functional diversity of dung beetles is greater in oil palm than in cattle pasture, and that functional metrics did not differ between oil palm and remnant forest. The abundance-size class profile of dung beetles in oil palm was more similar to forest than to pasture, which had lower abundances of the smallest and largest dung beetles. The abundance of tunneling and rolling dung beetles did not differ between oil palm and forest, while higher forest cover increased the abundance of diurnal and generalist-feeding beetles in oil palm landscapes. This suggests that prioritizing agricultural development on low-yielding cattle pasture will have positive effects on functional diversity and highlights the need for forest protection to maintain ecosystem functioning within agricultural landscapes.
... Piker et al (2016) assessed the nature of biophysical suitability for oil palm plantation by identifying suitable ranges of climate, soil, and topographical conditions, and Vijay et al (2016) used the Global Agro-ecological Zones (GAEZ) model as the suitability assessment tool. A handful of regional research articles have investigated the biophysical and socioeconomic driving factors associated with specific oil palm plantations (Castiblanco et al 2013, Gatto et al 2015, Sumarga and Hein 2016, Shevade and Loboda 2019, Ordway et al 2019, with the aim of addressing biophysical suitability as well as market and infrastructure accessibility. However, these works were unable to examine the temporal dynamics of oil palm expansion, or to reveal the role of economic benefits and costs in the conversion from other LULC types to oil palm cultivation, which should be fundamentally economically driven (Armsworth et al 2006, Lim et al 2019. ...
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Indonesia has been the largest supplier of palm oil since 2007, and now supplies around 56% of the global market. While the existing literature has paid serious attention to the diverse impacts of oil palm plantation on socioeconomic factors and the environment, less is known about the joint role of biophysical and socioeconomic factors in shaping the temporal and spatial dynamics of oil palm expansion. This research investigates how the benefits and costs of converting other land use/ land cover (LULC) types to oil palm plantation affects these expansion patterns. We employ a spatial panel modeling approach to assess the contributions of biophysical and socioeconomic driving factors. Our modeling focuses on Sumatra and Kalimantan, two islands which have accounted for more than 90% of oil palm expansion in Indonesia since 1990, with Sumatra holding the majority of the country's plantations, and Kalimantan having the highest growth rate since 2000. The results show that the expansion in Kalimantan, which has been strongly stimulated by the export value of palm oil products, has occurred in areas with better biophysical suitability and infrastructure accessibility, following the 'pecking order' sequence, whereby more productive areas are already occupied by existing agriculture and plantations, and avoiding areas with high environmental values or socioeconomic costs. As demand for palm oil continues to grow, and land resources become more limited, the expansion in Kalimantan will tend towards the dynamics observed in Sumatra, with plantation expanding into remote and fertile areas with high conversion costs or legal barriers. Bare ground seems to have served as a clearing-up tactic to meet the procedural requirements of oil palm plantation for sustainable development. This research facilitates the improved projection of potential areas liable to future expansion, and the development of strategies to manage the leading drivers of LULC in Indonesia.
... In 2017, oil palm plantations covered around 412,076 ha of land, producing more than 1.6 million tons of oil per year (Fedepalma 2018). Oil palm plantations are distributed in four zones of the country: North, Center, East, and Southwest (Castiblanco et al. 2013). ...
Article
Palm oil is the most consumed vegetable oil globally, and Colombia is the largest palm oil producer in South America and fourth worldwide. However, oil palm plantations in Colombia are affected by bud rot disease caused by the oomycete Phytophthora palmivora, leading to significant economic losses. Infection processes by plant pathogens involve the secretion of effector molecules, which alter the functioning or structure of host cells. Current long-read sequencing technologies provide the information needed to produce high-quality genome assemblies, enabling a comprehensive annotation of effectors. Here, we describe the development of genomic resources for P. palmivora, including a high-quality genome assembly based on long and short-read sequencing data, intra-species variability for 12 isolates from different oil palm cultivation regions in Colombia, and a catalog of over 1,000 candidate effector proteins. A total of 45,416 genes were annotated from the new genome assembled in 2,322 contigs adding to 165.5Mbp, which represents an improvement of 2 times more gene models, 33 times better contiguity, and 11 times less fragmentation compared with currently available genomic resources for the species. Analysis of nucleotide evolution in paralogs suggests a recent whole-genome duplication event. Genetic differences were identified among isolates showing variable virulence levels. We expect that these novel genomic resources contribute to the characterization of the species and the understanding of the interaction of P. palmivora with oil palm and could be further exploited as tools for the development of effective strategies for disease control.
... Colombia is currently the main oil palm producer in America. The expanding national and international biofuel market has stimulated much interest in biodiesel production in Colombia, especially given that the government has the ambitious goal of producing biodiesel, by replacing 20% of diesel with biofuel [53]. Nevertheless, triatomine presence in oil palm plantations should not be ignored, and it would be indicating a new important scenario of T. cruzi transmission [11]. ...
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Background: Triatomine bugs are responsible for the vectorial transmission of the parasite Trypanosoma cruzi, etiological agent of Chagas disease, a zoonosis affecting 10 million people and with 25 million at risk of infection. Several triatomine species of the genus Rhodnius have been found inhabiting palm crowns where insects can find shelter in leaves axils and blood from palm-associated vertebrates. Rhodnius prolixus insects have been collected in oil palms in Colombia, and high T. cruzi infection rates were found. Since pest control is carried out in oil palm plantations, continuous exposure to insecticides could be occurring in these triatomines. Some insecticides suggested for pest control in oil palm plantations are also recommended for triatomine control in human dwellings. In this study, our objective was to assess if triatomines inhabiting oil palms exhibit resistance to deltamethrin, an insecticide used for vector control. Methods: Rhodnius prolixus nymphs were sampled in oil palms located in Tauramena, Colombia. To determine deltamethrin resistance, biological and biochemical assays were carried out on fifth-instar nymphs from the F1 generation. For biological assays, pure and commercial deltamethrin were used, and in biochemical assays, activities of detoxifying enzymes related to pyrethroid resistance, such as oxidases, esterases and transferases, were quantified. Results: Deltamethrin lethal dosage 50 and 90 in R. prolixus from oil palms was significantly higher than in those from a susceptible colony suggesting possible deltamethrin resistance. Moreover, mortality with commercial deltamethrin was very low in insects from oil palms. In biochemical assays, the activity of evaluated detoxifying enzymes was significantly higher in R. prolixus from oil palms than in those from the susceptible colony. Conclusions: Possible deltamethrin resistance found in R. prolixus insects from oil palms could threaten traditional vector control strategies in urban settings if insecticide-resistant triatomines can migrate from oil palms plantations. In palm oil producer countries such as Colombia, the oil palm plantations are growing constantly during the last years. We suggest that pest control strategies in oil palm crops should include triatomine surveillance and toxicological monitoring, especially in zones with several Chagas disease cases.
Article
Oil palm plantation has expanded rapidly in Indonesia, driven by the enormous increase in the global demand for oil palm products. While the production and exporting of oil palm products have stimulated economic growth and improved living standards of local people, the expansion has imposed significant costs on the environment. Indonesia faces tough challenges to balance oil palm production with the growing commitment to protect tropical forest and peatland. This research offered a comprehensive assessment of the local responses in land-use changes and the associated environmental impacts in Indonesia to the dynamics on the global market of oil palm products. We employed generalized geo-economic gravity models to project export demand for oil palm products from Indonesia by 2050 under three different international trade scenarios. With the help of parametric survival analysis, we allocated the projected demands to 1km × 1km grids across Indonesia and quantified the possible trade-offs between oil palm expansion and environmental conservation. Results show that about 313–679 million tons of oil palm products (oil palm fruit equivalent) from Indonesia would be needed by 2050, which means about 18.58–45.59 million hectares of new plantation. We estimated that 8%–22% of secondary forest and 21%–54% of peatland would lose to oil palm expansion by 2050 if the expansion follows the historical pathways. Shifting the expansion from natural forest and peatland to degraded land with low environmental values would reduce the CO2 emission by about 87–142 Mton/year, at the expense of increased transportation and infrastructure accessibility costs. This shift towards sustainable palm oil production can be facilitated by extending current policies and regulations to secondary forest, enforcing stricter restrictions on peatland, supporting infrastructure development, and providing economic incentives.
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The Pacific region is considered a biodiversity hotspot and presents high species endemic levels. The Colombian Pacific basin occupies an area of approx. eight million hectares, located in the country's west. The literature about the economic valuation of ecosystem services (ES) and the spatial information on natural resources in the Colombian Pacific basin was revised through various information sources to document the earliest approximation to the state, spatial distribution, and economic value of the natural capital at the scale of biomes, specific ecosystems, and political-administrative units. Our assessment estimated a natural capital loss of 40 billion Int.$2020/year (15% of Colombian GDP in 2020) and a remnant natural capital worth 139 billion Int.$2020/year (51% of Colombia's GDP in 2020) for 15 ecosystem services. This research establishes that a potential expansion in livestock production systems will generate an additional loss of natural capital between six and eight billion Int.$2020/year. Additionally, we include an analysis based on the GLOBIO4 initiative models, identifying future natural capital losses between 7.5 and 7.6 billion Int.$2020/year. Lastly, the policy challenges and gaps in research and management concerning this remaining natural capital in the Colombian Pacific basin are pointed out.
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The Colombian Orinoco savannas (254 thousand km2), also known as Orinoquia or Llanos, have been steadily transformed into pastures for more than a century, and since the 1990s, into commodity crop intensified production. The cropland area expanded at 12% yr-1 during the 2007-2018 period (65% larger than in 1996-2007). Yet, we estimate that cattle ranching occupied ten times more area (34%) than cropland (3.2%) in 2018. The rest of Orinoquia, including indigenous reservations and protected areas, was in a semi-natural state, although also exposed to seasonal fire. The three main crops, oil palm, corn, and rice (72% of the sown area in 2017), accounted for 68% of the expansion, with permanent crops expanding two times faster (18% yr-1) than short-cycle crops. An extrapolation of trends indicates that the cultivated area will double by 2040 (reaching 20 thousand km2), with oil palm as the dominant crop. Satellite measurements show that 7% of Orinoquia burned every year during the 1997-2016 period, yet with large spatial and interannual variations (±26%), and significant decrease trends (up to -4% yr-1). Up to 40% of the burned area (BA) interannual variability was linked to irregular rainfall and drought. The areas with the larger fractional BA were also those with the least fractional cropland cover. A model developed to describe this coupling, along with rainfall and other effects, successfully explained most of Orinoquia’s BA variability (r2 = 0.93). The fitted model indicates that each sown hectare reduced the BA by 0.17 ha. This model predicts that the combination of cropland expansion and independent BA decline will lead to a fourfold reduction of Orinoquia’s BA by 2040 referred to 1997. Orinoquia’s crop production generated 3 Gg of PM10 (particulate matter < 10 µm) in 2016, mostly from short-cycle crops, while biomass burning generated 57 Gg, i.e., 95% of the combined emissions. These are expected to halve during the 2017-2040 period, despite an 83% increase in crop production emissions, as total and seasonal emissions will remain controlled by biomass burning. Such a large pollution burden reduction should have tremendous positive impacts on public health in Orinoquia and the Andes.
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Oil palm plantations are expanding in Latin America due to the global demand for food and biofuels, and much of this expansion has occurred at expense of important tropical ecosystems. Nevertheless, there is limited knowledge about effects on aquatic ecosystems near to oil palm-dominated landscapes. In this study, we used Landsat 7 ETM+, Landsat 8 OLI imagery and high-resolution images in Google Earth to map the current extent of oil palm plantations and determined prior land use land cover (LULC) in the Usumacinta River Basin as a case-study site. In addition, we assess the proximity of the crop with aquatic ecosystems distributed in the Usumacinta floodplains and their potential effects. Based on our findings, the most significant change was characterized by the expansion of oil palm crop areas mainly at expenses of regional rainforest and previously intervened lands (e.g. secondary vegetation and agriculture). Although aquatic ecosystem class (e.g. rivers, lagoons and channels) decreased in surface around 3% during the study period (2001–2017), the change was not due to the expansion of oil palm lands. However, we find that more than 50% of oil palm cultivations are near (between 500 and 3000 m) to aquatic ecosystems and this could have significant environmental impacts on sediment and water quality. Oil palm crops tend to spatially concentrate in the Upper Usumacinta ecoregion (Guatemala), which is recognized as an area of important fish endemism. We argue that the basic information generated in this study is essential to have better land use decision-making in a region that is relative newcomer to oil palm boom.
Chapter
Oil palm yields five to ten more oil per hectare per year than other oil crops. Less than 10% of the land planted with oil crops produces more than 35% of the oil consumed worldwide. Oil palm needs less land, pesticides, fertilizers, and energy; thus, it generates a lower impact on the environment. Oil palm has been criticized for its impact on GHG emissions and loss of carbon stocks in peat soils, especially in Malaysia and Indonesia. In Colombia, the crop’s expansion has occurred mainly in deforested lands, degraded soils, or land devoted to cattle. To better monitor, this crop’s environmental impacts, carbon footprint, and life cycle analyses have been conducted in several countries. Here, we summarize the results of those studies with particular reference to the Colombian case. Also, we present the comparison between different carbon footprint calculators used to measure oil palm GHG emissions. Finally, we discuss the use of carbon footprint estimations and their role in improving the crop’s sustainability.
Chapter
There have been many attempts investigating how environmental conditions are affected by economic growth in the literature by mainly following the environmental Kuznets curve approach that is figured out an inverted U-shaped relationship between economic growth and environmental degradation. However, the literature has ignored the role of growth dynamics in this relationship by using economic growth instead of employing essential factors of growth equations. Contrary to prevailing literature, this study employs labour, capital and human capital factors as main drivers of economic growth. The study also observes environmental deterioration by using the ecological footprint that is widely accepted as a strong environmental sustainability indicator recently. Empirical results produced by advanced panel data methodologies taking cross-section dependence into account for emerging economies confirm that human capital accumulation that is the unique driver of economic growth is useful to shrink ecological footprint.
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Fatal yellowing disease (FY) is a bud rot-type disease that severely affects oil palm plantations in Latin America. Since 1974, when it was first reported in Brazil, this disorder has been responsible for severe economic losses in the oil palm industry; and, for nearly 50 years, several studies have tried to identify its causal agent, without success. The etiological studies regarding FY in oil palm explored either biotic and abiotic stress scenarios, in a single or combined manner. Most recently, the hypothesis in favor of one biotic cause has lost some grounds to the abiotic one, mainly due to new insights regarding deficient aeration in the soil, which reduces the potential for oxy-reduction, causing changes in the ionic composition of the soil solution. This review presents an overview of the history of this disease and the several efforts done to fulfill Koch’s postulates over the last 40 years, besides discussing recent studies that revisited this subject using some omics technics. We conclude by discussing further uses of omics via a multi-omics integration (MOI) strategy to help finally find out what is really behind the genesis of FY. Finding this elusive causal agent of FY out will allow either the development of a more efficient diagnostic tool and the advance in studies trying to find out the source of the genetic resistance hidden in the genome of the American oil palm.
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Arguably, leveraging the intraregional market is important for a commodity like palm oil that constantly faces challenges to sustain global demand in extraregional markets. The article, therefore, compares intraregional export potentials for palm oil in two regions that are at the frontier for palm oil expansion, Southeast Asia and Latin America. The study employs a stochastic frontier gravity model to estimate intraregional export performance. The results indicate large untapped potentials and low-efficiency levels in both regions. The evidence further suggests that the export potential limiting factors have increased over time.
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Biofuel programmes are characterised with failures especially in Africa, including Nigeria. One of the major factors causing these failures is embarking on programmes that are not based on profound knowledge of the feedstock ecology. In Nigeria, biofuel feedstock land suitability maps that exist provided very low details regarding the suitability of the lands. Broadly, this research seeks to provide more robust workflow for producing biofuel crops land suitability maps with higher details. Thus, this review aims to collate information necessary for this robust spatial analysis. The article examines the production trends for oil palm and Jatropha as identified biodiesel crops in Nigeria. It then assesses the local demand for and processing of biodiesel and explored the ecological requirements of the crops. It also investigated the sustainability issues, identified some policy gaps and proffered a policy realignment strategy to ensure successful and sustainable biodiesel industry in the country. The review showed that though not without criticisms, the choice of oil palm and Jatropha for biodiesel production in Nigeria is appropriate. However, the potentials of these crops have not duly been exploited and Jatropha might have an edge due to the ecological advantages it presents. It is concluded here that the pathways to successful and sustainable biodiesel programme in Nigeria must give due consideration to cultivation sites optimisation based on the crops ecological requirements and the crops yields improvement. These must be supported by appropriate agronomic practices and processing technologies, informed business planning and policy realignment and effective policy enforcement.
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Biofuel production is a key strategy for reducing CO2 emissions globally and is expected to increase substantially in the coming decades, particularly in tropical developing countries. The adoption of sustainable biofuel production technologies that do not place large demands on agricultural or forested lands, has the potential to make a substantial contribution to decreasing greenhouse gas emissions while reducing biodiversity losses and degradation of native ecosystems resulting from high demand for land. With their high productivity per unit area and ability to grow on non-arable lands, microalgal biofuel production systems could become a major sustainable alternative to biofuel production from food crops (first-generation biofuels). However, the potential impacts of microalgal biofuels on food production, biodiversity, and carbon storage, compared to other biofuel production alternatives, are largely unknown. In the present study, the most suitable areas for siting microalgae production farms to fulfill 30% of future transport energy demands were determined within four Neotropical countries with high population densities and high importance for agricultural expansion and biodiversity conservation globally (Colombia, Ecuador, Panama, and Venezuela). These results were contrasted with the best areas for siting oil palm and sugarcane crops to fulfill the same target in future transport energy demands. Microalgal production systems offer the most sustainable alternative for future biofuel production within the Neotropics. Meeting 30% of future transport energy demands with microalgal biofuels reduced land area requirements by at least 52% compared to oil palm and sugarcane. Furthermore, microalgal biofuel production reduced direct competition with agricultural lands, biodiverse areas, and carbon-rich systems within countries, with little overlap with the biodiverse and carbon-rich rainforests. This study can guide decision making towards the identification and adoption of more sustainable biofuel production alternatives in the Neotropics, helping in avoiding unnecessary environmental impacts from biofuel expansion in the region.
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Most prior studies have found that substituting biofuels for gasoline will reduce greenhouse gases because biofuels sequester carbon through the growth of the feedstock. These analyses have failed to count the carbon emissions that occur as farmers worldwide respond to higher prices and convert forest and grassland to new cropland to replace the grain (or cropland) diverted to biofuels. By using a worldwide agricultural model to estimate emissions from land-use change, we found that corn-based ethanol, instead of producing a 20% savings, nearly doubles greenhouse emissions over 30 years and increases greenhouse gases for 167 years. Biofuels from switchgrass, if grown on U.S. corn lands, increase emissions by 50%. This result raises concerns about large biofuel mandates and highlights the value of using waste products.
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This first chapter explains some of the basic theoretical ideas, concepts and methodologies that underpin the modelling of land-use change. It represents an overview of the types of approaches that have been adopted by researchers hitherto. It also provides a rationale for the structure of the book and a synopsis of the contents that follow.
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