September is biodiversity month

Malaysia is one of the world’s most biodiverse countries, ranking 12th on the National Biodiversity Index. This Southeast Asian country known for its modern cities, stunning beaches and lush rainforests takes protecting its environment seriously. The country’s rapid economic development is due in part to its wise use of its rich natural resources. The Malaysian Palm Oil Council (MPOC) is proud to play an important role in protecting the county’s flora and fauna. Working together with government, nonprofits and independent farmers, MPOC helps maintain the country’s natural resources for future generations.

What is biodiversity?
Biodiversity refers to the variety of plants, animals and micro-organisms, and the interaction between the species. Malaysia is one of 17 “megadiverse” countries. These countries are home to 70 percent of the world’s species.

Malaysia’s biodiversity by the numbers
Malaysia wildlife inhabitants include:

286 species of mammals

736 species of birds

158 species of amphibians

4,449 species of marine and freshwater fish

Plant life is also varied in this tropical country:

15,000 flowering plant species

1,159 fern species

2,500 orchid species

Malaysian oil palm plantations and their impact on biodiversity
Malaysia is a leading producer of palm oil, the nutritious and versatile non-GMO oil produced from the fruit of the oil palm tree. About 4.8 million hectares of land, less than 15 percent of Malaysia’s total land, is used for oil palm plantations. By comparison, approximately 45 percent of the United State’s total land is dedicated to agricultural purposes, with 70 to 80 percent of it used for livestock.

Oil plantations are incredibly productive. A single acre of oil palm produces 11 times more oil than a single acre of soybean plants, and 7 times more oil than an acre of canola (rapeseed) plants. And because Malaysian oil palm plantations are not cleared annually unlike corn, soybean, wheat and sunflower fields, the land is home to a wide variety of animal and other plant species. MPOC supports this by providing training and resources to plantation workers to help them produce palm oil in harmony with the nation’s amazing biodiversity.

Support MPOC initiatives by purchasing its Back to Basics cookbook. Proceeds from this book support the Malaysian Palm Oil Council Wildlife Conservation Fund.