Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil, which comes from the fruit of oil palms. These oil palms bear fruit year round, and each cluster of fruit contains about 50 percent oil. Besides containing a high amount of oil in each fruit cluster, the trees also require 10 percent or less of the land that is required for other oil producing crops.
What is the crisis?
Because it is such an efficient crop, oil palms are now grown on commercial plantations. Unfortunately, the land for these large plantations comes from the deforestation of millions of acres of rainforest on the islands of Indonesia, Malaysia and others. Besides losing an important ecosystem, the loss of the rainforests puts thousands of species at risk.