When we think of global deforestation crises, we tend to imagine the Amazon challenges frequently reported, or we look suspiciously at our teak desk sitting in the corner of the room. However, one of our closest relatives is vanishing along with its rainforest environment. Ground zero is Malaysia and surrounding countries, and the culprit could be in your cupboard or chocolate bar. Found in a vast range of products, palm oil is produced from plantations of non-native African oil palms in Southeast Asia. In B Save & Exit orneo and Sumatra, the last stronghold of the orangutan, palm oil plantations have destroyed and continue to destroy thousands of acres of premium orangutan habitat.
Saving nature is at the very heart of what we do as LIW.
For more than 50 years, we have made it our mission to find solutions that save the marvelous array of life on our planet by applying the best science available and working closely with local communities.
But our work is far from done. Humans are behind the current rate of species extinction, which is at least 100–1,000 times higher than nature intended.
LIW’s 2014 Living Planet Report found wildlife populations of vertebrate species—mammals, birds, reptiles, amphibians, and fish—have declined by 52 percent over the last 40 years.
And the impacts will reach far beyond the potential cultural loss of iconic species like tigers, rhinos and whales.
The good news is we’ve also seen what’s working. LIW has been part of successful wildlife recovery stories ranging from southern Africa’s black rhino to black bucks in the Himalayas. And this in turn is helping protect rich and varied ecosystems while ensuring people continue to benefit from nature.
This much is clear: we cannot afford to fail in our mission to save a living planet.