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Towards the sustainable production of palm oil: which research do we need?

Bessou C., Cheyns E., Djama M., Omont H., Rival A.. 2011. In : ZSL. Sustainable palm oil: challenges, a common vision and the way forward : Symposium ZSL, London, United Kingdom, May 5-6, 2011. s.l. : s.n., 3 p.. Symposium ZSL, 2011-05-05/2011-05-06, Londres (Royaume-Uni).

The cultivation of oil palm has become emblematic of the trade-off between development and conservation that agricultural commodities have to face: matching an increasing global demand while preserving the capacity of land to provide ecosystems services, and preserving natural forests. Towards the aim of providing solutions to such controversial issues, the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) was created in 2004 as a business-to-business initiative bringing together NGOs and private stakeholders under a voluntary certification scheme. The forces and weaknesses of RSPO are related to its business-to-business origin and intrinsic nature. Principles and criteria were designed to provide a shared framework for stakeholders who are willing to voluntarily commit themselves towards a sustainable palm oil production but not as a detailed methodology and control points to actually assess the impacts. The RSPO principles and criteria thus need to be revisited and associated with complementary diagnosis steps integrating the broad diversity of oil palm-based cropping systems and the constraints these systems have to face. Our strategy is: . To provide science-based knowledge and tools to ensure the sustainability of production systems or to implement new sustainable systems . To involve stakeholders in the innovation process through multi-agent modeling or workshops . To identify obstacles and bottlenecks and analyze whether they are related to some inherent incapacity of oil palm cropping systems to adapt or/and to insufficient efforts in making knowledge and tools accessible to end-users The generation of multidisciplinary research networks which are able to deliver science-based products of direct interest for end-users is now of paramount importance.

Mots-clés : huile de palme; elaeis guineensis

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