RELEASE: Malaysia's Global Oil Palm Rainforest Land Grab Just the Beginning of Larger Land and Water Scarcity Issues]

Darren Hill mail at
Fri May 15 10:52:29 BST 2009


Malaysia's Global Oil Palm Rainforest Land Grab Just the Beginning of 
Larger Land and Water Scarcity Issues

- Over-developed, over-populated, and land and water scarce Asian and 
Middle East nations embark upon global land grab to produce food and 
agrofuels; threatening global human rights, rainforest and other natural 
ecosystems, and regional and global ecological sustainability. Deadly 
global ecological issues require global citizens to unite in escalating 
protest action!

May 13, 2009
By Earth's Newsdesk, a project of Ecological Internet (EI)
CONTACT: Dr. Glen Barry, glenbarry at

Relatively rich countries in Asia and the Middle East, short of food and 
water at home, have leased or purchased more than 20 million hectares of 
farmland in Africa and Latin America, equal to 25 percent of Europe's 
farmland. This global "land grab" by foreign governments and companies 
is a result of last year's food crisis and a shortage of arable land and 
water. About one-quarter of these investments are for biofuel 
plantations. Ecological Internet's current global campaign against 
Malaysian oil palm plantations in the Amazon rainforests [1] fits within 
the context of this larger trend.

Malaysia‘s federal land agency will soon break ground on a joint venture 
with a Brazilian firm to establish 30,000-100,000 hectares of oil palm 
plantations in the heart of Brazil's Amazon rainforest. Sime Darby, a 
Malaysian palm oil producer, will invest $800 million for 200,000 
hectares (500,000 acres) of palm oil and rubber plantations in Liberia. 
"It is increasingly difficult to acquire arable plantation land in Asia 
and thus it is imperative that new frontiers be sought to meet 
increasing demand," said Ahmad Zubir Murshid, chief executive of Sime 
Darby. "Sime Darby will also have the first mover advantage over future 
entrants into Liberia in terms of securing choice land."

"This flood of land grabs by emerging nations, mostly of land under 
local customary land tenure, is eerily reminiscent of past and ongoing 
European and U.S. colonial practices," states Dr. Glen Barry, Ecological 
Internet's President, who is a practicing Political Ecologist and hold a 
Ph.D. in Land Resources. "We are witnessing the intensification of 
social turmoil caused by climate change, land and water scarcity, and 
over-population and inequitable consumption. Until these root causes of 
global ecosystem collapse are addressed, there is no chance of achieving 
equitable and just global ecological sustainability."

### MORE ###

China leases land in Cuba, Mexico and has extensive holdings in Africa. 
The huge Korean company Daewoo Logistics Corporation signed a deal to 
lease 1.3 million hectares in Madagascar to grow maize and oil palm, 
which caused political conflicts that led to the overthrow of the 
government in 2009. A group of Gulf States, including Saudi Arabia, 
holds the largest foreign ownership or control of African farmland in 
Sudan. Last year, the United Arab Emirates negotiated several farmland 
deals with Pakistan. Qatar has agricultural land in Indonesia, the 
Philippines, Bahrain, Kuwait and Burma.

Oil palm development continues to clear some thirty square miles of 
carbon and biodiversity rich habitat a day to provide cheap cooking oil 
and transport biodiesel. Oil palm agrofuel is heralded as a climate 
change mitigation measure, yet the initial rainforest clearance leads to 
much more carbon release than its production and use avoids. 
Establishment of toxic, monoculture oil palm plantations in the 
Brazilian Amazon (almost certainly, eventually to fuel cars in the 
United States) would be a global ecological tragedy for biodiversity and 
climate, and a crime against local peoples and humanity.

Large scale biofuel and intensification of industrial agriculture 
production in general runs counter to urgently addressing climate change 
and threatens to cause more deforestation, hunger, human rights abuses, 
and degradation of soil and water. Global ecological sustainability and 
local well-being depend critically upon ending all industrial 
development in the world's remaining old forests -- including 
plantations, logging, mining and dams. Globally there are not enough old 
forests to maintain climatic and hydrological cycles, meet local forest 
dwellers' needs, and to maintain ecosystems and the biosphere in total.

Ecological Internet seeks to build an empowered network of global 
citizens committed to global ecological sustainability and confronting 
ecocide wherever it occurs. Our Earth Action Network campaigns just as 
aggressively against European, American and even NGO ecological 
misconduct. Emerging nations are valid targets for protest as they mimic 
Western environmental and social errors. We clearly have the Malaysian 
government's attention as they are hurriedly removing documents from the 
web regarding their oil palm venture in the Amazon.

"There is little new land being made, and much of what remains must be 
protected and restored as large, intact ecosystems to maintain climate, 
water, biodiversity and to keep Earth habitable. Ecological requirements 
for global sustainability should guide our protest actions and not 
political correctness. Together our protests have recently stopped such 
projects in Papua New Guinea and Ivory Coast. Together let's continue 
speaking ecological truth to power and let people deal with it. First 
and foremost, local peoples must be assisted globally to resist this new 
wave of ecological imperialism and to fully protect, restore and benefit 
from intact, standing old forests," asserts Dr. Barry.

### ENDS ###

[1] Action Alert: Malaysian Oil Palm Threatens Brazilian Amazon
Thus far 2,310 people from 68 countries have sent 75,570 protest emails

Discuss this release at:

Ecological Internet provides the world's largest and most used climate 
and environment portals at and . Dr. Glen Barry is a leading global 
spokesperson on behalf of environmental sustainability policy. He 
frequently conducts interviews on the latest climate, forest and water 
policy developments and can be reached at: glenbarry at

Dr. Glen Barry
Ecological Internet, Inc.
GlenBarry at

Ecological Internet's projects include:

EcoEarth.Info -- http://www.EcoEarth.Info/
Climate Ark -- --
Water Conserve --
Rainforest Portal --
Ocean Conserve --
My.EcoEarth.Info --
New Earth Rising e-zine -- 


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