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Small room for compromise between oil palm cultivation and primate conservation in Africa

Strona G., Stringer S.D., Vieilledent G., Szantoi Z., Garcia-Ulloa J., Wich S.. 2018. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America : 6 p..

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1200255

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1200339

DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.1200265

DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1804775115

Despite growing awareness about its detrimental effects on tropical biodiversity, land conversion to oil palm continues to increase rapidly as a consequence of global demand, profitability, and the income opportunity it offers to producing countries. Although most industrial oil palm plantations are located in Southeast Asia, it is argued that much of their future expansion will occur in Africa. We assessed how this could affect the continent's primates by combining information on oil palm suitability and current land use with primate distribution, diversity, and vulnerability. We also quantified the potential impact of large-scale oil palm cultivation on primates in terms of range loss under different expansion scenarios taking into account future demand, oil palm suitability, human accessibility, carbon stock, and primate vulnerability. We found a high overlap between areas of high oil palm suitability and areas of high conservation priority for primates. Overall, we found only a few small areas where oil palm could be cultivated in Africa with a low impact on primates (3.3 Mha, including all areas suitable for oil palm). These results warn that, consistent with the dramatic effects of palm oil cultivation on biodiversity in Southeast Asia, reconciling a large-scale development of oil palm in Africa with primate conservation will be a great challenge.

Mots-clés : elaeis; primate; biodiversité; conservation de la nature; plantation; forêt; gestion de l'environnement; afrique au sud du sahara; madagascar

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