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Title: Sensible consumerism for environmental sustainability
Authors: Koh, L.P. 
Lee, T.M.
Keywords: Conservation
Food security
Oil palm
Sustainable development
Issue Date: Jul-2012
Citation: Koh, L.P., Lee, T.M. (2012-07). Sensible consumerism for environmental sustainability. Biological Conservation 151 (1) : 3-6. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Navjot Sodhi and we often discussed how growing global demands for food are placing increasing pressures on tropical forests. Although more consumers are demanding for 'greener' products associated with sustainable production, green consumerism and improved production practices . per se might not adequately curtail destruction of forests and biodiversity. Instead, we argue that consumers in emerging and developed countries need to avoid wasteful and excessive consumption. We demonstrate how reasonable recalibration of consumer aspirations and changes in consumption levels in China, India, the European Union and United States might substantially alleviate environmental impacts associated with oilseed production in Indonesia, Malaysia, Brazil and Argentina. We do so through a scenario analysis that projects oilseed demands and expansion from current levels to 2100 under three alternative consumption trends. We show that pursuing a business-as-usual course of consumption would impose severe pressures in producer countries to clear land for oil-palm and soybean agriculture (up to an additional ~12. million hectares by 2040), which could exacerbate rates of deforestation and biodiversity loss in these tropical regions. On the other hand, if each person in the EU and US reduces his/her daily vegetable oil consumption by an average of 25. g - roughly equivalent to forgoing one large serving of French Fries - the pressure to convert tropical forests for oilseed expansion could be reduced by up to ~70%. Our analysis demonstrates how changes in consumer behavior in industrialized nations could substantially alleviate environmental impacts associated with agricultural production in the developing tropics. © 2011 Elsevier Ltd.
Source Title: Biological Conservation
ISSN: 00063207
DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.029
Appears in Collections:Staff Publications

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