Expert Answer:History Of Oil Sands In Canada Environmental Manag


Solved by verified expert:this is a environment management course , my group is writing oil sands in Alberta Canada as our topic. i upload a example of what a wiki project paper looks like. my parts is writing history of oil sand in Alberta Canada. the paper have to have words that with hyperlink when u click on it, like a wikipedia page, also need APA form of citations. plz look at the example i upload and do my parts. the words should around 550-600 words. really need to use this reference in my parts, and also you find more reference if you want…

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Palm Oil Production
Palm oil is an edible vegetable oil derived from the fruit of oil palm trees
(Verheye, 2010). The oil palm fruit produces two different oils; palm oil
which is derived from the flesh of the fruit and palm kernel oil which is
produced from its seed (Basiron, 2007). Palm oil is produced primarily for
food while palm kernel oil can be found in soaps, detergents and other
household products (Basiron, 2007).
Industrial palm oil production involves two key processes: cultivation and
refining. The cultivation process involves farmers growing, maintaining and
harvesting palm plantations, while the refining process occurs in mills where
oil is extracted from the palm fruit (Verheye, 2010). Cultivation and refining
often occur at a central estate to expedite the production process (Verheye,
Inside of an oil palm fruit; oil is
extracted from the fleshy orange
fruit while the white seed (also
referred to as a nut or kernel) is
crushed to produce palm kernel oil
(GreenPalm, 2016).
Although palm oil is produced throughout regions of Central America, South America, West Africa and
Southeast Asia, Indonesia and Malaysia are by far the largest producers with Indonesia supplying over
half of global palm oil (Block, 2009).
Current Challenges
Peatland Destruction
Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME)
3 Opportunities
Cultivation Opportunities
3.1.1 Increasing Yields
3.1.2 Planting on Degraded Land
3.1.3 Plantation Management
Refining Opportunities
3.2.1 POME Treatment
3.2.2 Palm Oil as Biodiesel
4 Strategies
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Palm Oil Innovation Group
Malaysian Palm Oil Council
Elaeis guineensis, more commonly known as oil palm,
originated from West Africa and has been used as a food
crop for more than 5,000 years (Corley & Tinker, 2003).
There is significant evidence that oil palm has existed
since ancient Egypt as there have been casks of oil palm
found in Egyptian tombs (Corley & Tinker, 2003). Palm
oil’s original primary use was as a local food source, but
in the 16th and 17th centuries it developed into a trade
network within the West African slave trade (Corley &
Elaeis guineensis in a mature Malaysian palm oil plantation
Tinker, 2003). In the 18th century, alternative uses of oil
(MPOB, 2011).
palm were discovered including candle making and
lubricant for machines with the leading exporter still being West Africa (GreenPalm, 2016). In the 19th
century, the oil palm industry began to flourish as plantations were set up in Central Africa and Southeast
Asia, and investment was put into Cameroon resulting in the development of the Tenera species of palm
oil (GreenPalm, 2016).
In the late 19th century, technological improvements in oil refining improved the usage of unhydrogenated palm oil in food, which expanded the industry farther into the Western Hemisphere
(GreenPalm, 2016). In the late 1900’s, Malaysia emerged as the world’s largest palm oil producer, and by
1990 worldwide production reached close to 11 million metric tonnes (GreenPalm, 2016). By 2003, palm
oil production equaled that of the soybean for the first time in history after soybean’s tenure as the number
one oil crop for many years (WWF, 2016). Today, palm oil has become the most widely consumed
vegetable oil on the planet and can be found in over half of all packaged foods in the supermarket (WWF,
2016). In 2013 alone the world consumed 55 million metric tons of palm oil – nearly four times the
amount used 20 years
earlier (WWF, 2016).
This rapid increase in palm oil production has
concerns: “the exponential growth of palm oil
plantations is to a large degree an unintended
consequence of economics, and food and energy
policies elsewhere in the world” (Kodas, 2014).
Increased palm oil production is to be expected
based on demand, but the industry’s large-scale
production methods have had significant impacts
on our planet.
Growth of global palm oil production over 50 year period (WWF, 2016).
Current Challenges
One of the biggest challenges currently faced by the palm oil industry is its damaged reputation. When
examining palm oil production through the triple bottom line framework, the industry is strong from a
profit perspective but struggles to satisfy some people and planet obligations. While the industry has
created jobs, removed barriers to education and funded conservation efforts in some regions, there are
longstanding issues around sustainability and environmental impacts.
Oil palm crop expansion is particularly harmful for lowland
rainforests and peat-swamp forests, both of which are some of
the most carbon-dense and biologically rich ecosystems on
the planet (Laurance et al., 2010). Indonesia and Malaysia, the
world’s two largest oil palm producing countries, contain
11% of the remaining global tropical forests (Koh & Wilcove,
2008). Oil palm expansion continues to encroach on these rich
forested areas, many of which are home to rare or endemic
species (Koh & Wilcove, 2008). With the highest relative rate
of humid tropics deforestation, Southeast Asia is at risk of
Forest clearing for palm oil plantation in Sumatran,
losing up to three- quarters of its original forest cover by the
Indonesia (Compost).
turn of the century
(Koh & Wilcove, 2008). The resulting habitat destruction would likely be accompanied by significant loss
of regional species populations (13-42%), at least half of which would result in global extinction (Koh &
Wilcove, 2008). To minimize the environmental impacts of forest conversion, plantations can be
supported on previously degraded land, avoiding tropical deforestation and reducing carbon emissions
(Reijnders & Huijbregts, 2008).
Peatland Destruction
Peatland, or peat-swamp, is classified by its waterlogged conditions resulting in a lack of oxygen which
prevents the efficient decomposition of organic matter by bacteria and fungi (Tan, Lee, Mohamed, &
Bhatia, 2009). These characteristics have previously left the land untouched by agricultural producers, but
have been found to support palm oil plantations as long as the land is deeply drained (Tan, Lee, Mohamed,
& Bhatia, 2009). Representing global land coverage of approximately 4 million km², peatland stores
significant amounts of carbon thought to be equal to 70 times the annual amount of carbon emitted from
fossil fuel burning (Tan, Lee, Mohamed, & Bhatia, 2009). As such, these areas act as carbon sinks and
play a crucial role in balancing the total amount of carbon in our atmosphere (Tan, Lee, Mohamed, &
Bhatia, 2009).
Habitat destruction, particularly forest conversion to accommodate palm oil expansion throughout
Southeast Asia, has put many endemic species at risk (Tan, Lee, Mohamed, & Bhatia, 2009). Native
species including Asian elephants and Sumatran rhinos and tigers are facing global extinction due to
tropical forest loss in Sumatran and Borneo, both major producers of palm oil (Tan, Lee, Mohamed, &
Bhatia, 2009). The animal most commonly associated with vulnerability at the hands of the palm oil
industry however, is the orangutan. Both Sumatran and Bornean
orangutans face extinction as the tropical forests they rely on for
food and shelter are destroyed to erect new oil palm plantations
(Tan, Lee, Mohamed, & Bhatia, 2009). If they survive habitat
destruction, orangutans are forced to migrate to suboptimal
locations or attempt survival in the palm oil plantation (Tan, Lee,
Mohamed, & Bhatia, 2009). Those who stay are often killed for
meat when found trying to feed off of young oil palm crops (Tan,
Lee, Mohamed, & Bhatia, 2009).
Palm Oil Mill Effluent (POME)
Bornean orangutans (Webster).
The primary environmental concern associated with the palm oil refining process is palm oil mill effluent
(POME), a thick, brownish liquid generated by palm oil mills during the oil extraction process (Chin,
Poh, Tey, Chan, & Chin, 2013). Although palm oil
production has fairly minor environmental impacts compared to
other industrial sectors, producing 1 tonne of palm oil uses an
estimated 5-7.5 tonnes of water, 50% of which ends up as POME
(Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010). Palm oil mill wastewater
is highly acidic with high occurrences of solids, oil and grease
present from the refining process, which pose environmental risks
if discharged without treatment (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa,
2010). While POME discharge is classified as non-toxic due to the
lack of chemicals present during the oil extraction process, it has
River water polluted with palm oil mill effluent
been found to deplete oxygen if discharged untreated resulting in
in northern Borneo (Sabah Environmental
Protection Association, 2012).
significant aquatic pollution near palm oil mills (Rupani, Singh,
Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010).
Malaysia has been using ‘pond systems’ to treat POME since the early 1980’s due to their low cost and
ease of use (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010). This process involves storing large quantities of POME
in a pond for 45-60 days to allow waste to stabilize (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010). While this
method sounds more environmentally friendly than discharging directly into rivers, ponding systems are
the main source of environmental pollution from palm mills due to surface and ground water pollution,
and the high amounts of greenhouse gas methane emitted from the ponds (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa,
2010). An estimated 33kg of methane is emitted for every tonne of crude palm oil produced (Rupani,
Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010).
Social Challenges
While the economic benefits of palm oil production are plentiful, workers are still vulnerable to
exploitation (Sheil et al., 2009). Some Malaysian plantations employ almost entirely Indonesian workers
who don’t benefit from the same rights and protection as natives, thus subjecting them to long hours, poor
pay and physically demanding work (Sheil et al., 2009). Moreover, there are a wide range of health and
safety concerns afflicting workers that need to be acknowledged and rectified (Sheil et al., 2009).
Forest conversion to establish plantations also negatively impacts forest-dependent communities by
depleting wood and food sources, thus reducing regional good and service offerings (Sheil et al., 2009).
This natural resource destruction is often accompanied by a loss of traditional customs and culture,
regional wildlife and basic human rights (Sheil et al., 2009). The unsustainable expansion of Southeast
Asia’s palm oil sector is robbing indigenous communities of basic resources such as land and water,
making it difficult for locals to sustain an adequate livelihood or afford necessities such as education and
food (Sheil et al., 2009).
While there are still strategies that can be employed to improve the refining process, there are more
negative effects associated with the cultivation process requiring improvements. As global demand for
palm oil continues to rise, key opportunities for the production industry include sustainable growth and
improved public image.
Cultivation Opportunities
The cultivation side of palm oil production has long been associated with deforestation and habitat loss.
There are several opportunities the industry can look to pursue to reduce regional environmental impacts
and foster a more sustainable image.
Increasing Yields
Experiments have long been carried out in an attempt to
achieve higher yields of oil from hybrid strains of oil palm
(Basiron, 2007). This breeding and selection work has
resulted in improvements in oil yields, starting with the
Dura palm variety in the 1960s, which had a low oil
extraction ratio of only 12-16% (Basiron, 2007). This was
replaced by the Tenera variety, a combination of Dura and
Pisifera specimens, with a highly improved oil extraction
ratio of over 25% (Basiron, 2007). More recently, a team
of scientists was able to identify a single gene responsible
for regulating oil palm yields – referred to as the Shell
gene – enabling producers to increase yields by up to one
A comparison of the three known oil palm forms, showing the
third, allowing for more efficient land usage (Cold Spring
optimum Tenera variety (Cold Spring Harbor Labrotory, 2013).
Harbor Labrotory, 2013). These continuous breeding
improvements have resulted in
enhanced palm oil yields, helping to improve cultivation while reducing forest conversion (Basiron, 2007).
Planting on Degraded Land
An important opportunity to explore is how oil palm bearing trees are being grown. Cargill, a privately
held corporation operating primarily in the energy, agriculture and livestock industries, has funded
research showing that global palm oil production can be doubled over the next 20 years without cutting
down a single tree (Clay, 2010). The rationale behind this method is that plantations can be established in
Borneo on land that’s already been degraded, thus avoiding further deforestation and achieving the highest
net present value for palm oil (Clay, 2010). This move to more sustainable palm oil plantations by a
company as large as Cargill would cause a shift across the entire industry as they currently control
20-25% of the global market and share 50% of the Chinese market with one other company (Clay, 2010).
Plantation Management
While palm oil growth and production is associated with negative impacts to its surroundings, the industry
could see positive change towards sustainability through improved cultivation and plantation management
practices. Since the oil palm originated as a forest species prior to domestication, most plantations could
qualify as ‘planted forest’ if other native flora and fauna were allowed to naturally flourish (Basiron,
2007). This strategy not only helps maintain biodiversity, but research shows that filling in the wide spaces
left between oil palm trees with smaller native species prompts quicker growth and higher rates of carbon
sequestration (Germer & Sauerborn, 2008).
Other strategies worth noting include minimizing soil erosion by planting leguminous cover crops and
recycling zero to low yield fruit bunches as fertilizer to maintain plantation soil fertility (Comte, Colin,
Whalen, Grunberger, & Caliman, 2012). Site preparation can also be modified to increase carbon
sequestration via plantation soil (Reijnders & Huijbregts, 2008). Shifting from high intensity fires to low
intensity fires as a site preparation method is thought to reduce carbon stock losses in soil, as is switching
from a tilling to no tilling soil management process (Reijnders & Huijbregts, 2008).
Refining Opportunities
POME Treatment
To reduce its environmental impact, the palm oil industry should look at alternative sources for
discharging and treating POME. Rupani et al. explain that “due to the non-toxic nature and fertilizing
properties, POME can be used as fertilizer or animal feed substitute in terms of providing sufficient
mineral requirements”. This can be attributed to the substantial amounts of nitrogen, phosphorus,
potassium, magnesium and calcium found in POME (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010). This strategy
not only offers responsible disposal of POME, but generates an additional source of income. However,
most mills still choose to discharge POME into rivers or use ponding systems due to the low time and cost
burdens associated with these methods (Rupani, Singh, Ibrahim, & Esa, 2010).
Palm Oil as Biodiesel
With a 50% increase in global energy consumption expected by 2030, demand for biofuel is predicted to
increase as the need for cheaper, cleaner energy sources rises (Sheil et al., 2009). Palm oil has become
highly prospective as biodiesel due to its high production yields and the low amounts of sunlight, water,
fertilizer and pesticide required for the plantation through harvest (Mekhilef, Siga, & Saidur, 2011). The
palm fruit’s fleshy inner wall, called mesocarp, is processed to obtain palm oil, which can then be further
refined into crude palm oil and processed as biodiesel (Mekhilef, Siga, & Saidur, 2011). Palm oil currently
has the best energy balance among commercial products used to make biofuel, delivering approximately
nine times the amount of energy required for production (Cold Spring Harbor Labrotory, 2013). While
this doesn’t fix existing sustainability issues in the palm oil industry, biodiesel provides a renewable,
alternative energy source that is both non-toxic and biodegradable (Mekhilef, Siga, & Saidur, 2011).
In addition to the strategies identified above in conjunction with opportunities, there are a number of
strategies actively being employed by the industry to promote sustainable palm oil:
Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil
Today, palm oil producers are expected to employ sustainable agricultural practices while abiding by the
principles and criteria of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), a global initiative working to
make palm oil sustainable (Basiron, 2007). At present, 17% of global palm oil (equivalent to almost 12
million tonnes) is certified by the RSPO (RSPO, 2016).
Palm Oil Innovation Group
Launched in November of 2013, the Palm Oil Innovation Group (POIG) was developed by a number of
international NGOs (including WWF and Greenpeace) in partnership with palm oil producers noted for
their socio-environmental leadership (WWF, 2016). This group was formed following review of the
RSPO’s principles which some feel are lacking in the areas of deforestation, biodiversity and carbon
related issue management (WWF, 2016). The POIG hopes to work closely with the RSPO to improve best
practices and ensure they are implemented across the industry (WWF, 2016).
Malaysian Palm Oil Council
The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) aims to expand the Malaysian market through acceptance of
palm oil through sustainability initiatives and education of the associated techno-economic advantages
(MPOC, 2012). Previous initiatives include a $5.5 million USD fund in support of biodiversity
conservation directly related to the impacts of global palm oil production (Basiron, 2007).
Aside from those mentioned above there are countless local, governmental and NGO based initiatives in
support of sustainable industry transformation and transparency.
Basiron, Y. (2007). Palm oil production through sustainable plantations. European Journal of Lipid
Science and Technology, 109, 289-295.
Block, B. (2009, April). Global Palm Oil Demand Fueling Deforestation. Retrieved November 29,
2016, from Worldwatch Institute:
Chin, M. J., Poh, P. E., Tey, B. T., Chan, E. S., & Chin, K. L. (2013, October). Biogas from palm oil
mill effluent (POME): Opportunities and challenges from Malaysia’s perspective. Renewable and
Sustainable Energy Reviews, 26, 717-726.
Cold Spring Harbor Labrotory. (2013, July 24). Full genome map of oil palm indicates way to raise
yields and protect rainforest: Single gene identified whose regulation controls oil palm yield.
Retrieved December 3, 2016, from ScienceDaily:
Compost, A. (n.d.). Environmental & social impacts of palm oil production. Retrieved December 3,
2016, from WWF:
Comte, I., Colin, F., Whalen, J. K., Grunberger, O., & Caliman, J.-P. (2012). Agricultural Practices in
Oil Palm Plantations and Their Impact on Hydrological Changes, Nutrient Fluxes and Water
Quality in Indonesia: A Review. In D. Sparks (Ed.), Advanced in Agronomy (Vol. 116, pp. 71124). Burlington: Elsevier Inc.
Corley, R., & Tinker, P. (2003). The Oil Palm. Ames, Iowa, USA: B …
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