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This Research Topic has been developed in collaboration with Lain E. Pardo of James Cook University, Australia and Paul R. Furumo of University of Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto ...

This Research Topic has been developed in collaboration with Lain E. Pardo of James Cook University, Australia and Paul R. Furumo of University of Puerto Rico San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Global cultivation of oil palm is centered in Southeast Asia where it has had both positive and negative impacts. Oil palm production is now rapidly expanding in Latin America and Africa, but the effects of this expansion have received less attention. Within the last twenty years research into the potential impacts of oil palm development has grown. However, land-use history, management practices, and socio-economical context vary between regions making general sustainability assessments challenging. Therefore, it is important to understand these potential differences and evaluate whether the lessons learned from Asia can be applied to policies and practices in the oil palm industry elsewhere, or vice-versa.

This research topic of Frontiers in Forests and Global Change aims to collect relevant scientific contributions on oil palm sustainability. We aim to identify cross-cutting research themes between the three geographic regions to help build a consensus on environmental management recommendations.

Among the themes covered in this topic are:

(i) the applied environmental science behind habitat management and design of plantations,
(ii) assessing the impacts of certification and other governance tools
(iii) verification of existing/proposed prioritization toolkits and certification criteria,
(iv) environmental/socio-economic trade-offs, particularly for smallholders,
(v) the application of emerging mitigation mechanisms, such as biodiversity offsetting,
(vi) synergies and differences in oil palm policies and practices among Asia, Africa, and the Neotropics.
(vii) future dynamics and scenarios of oil palm expansion in and across production regions
(viii) sustainable consumption studies (e.g. impacts of product labelling, consumer awareness, etc), including case studies from regions in the Global North and Global South.
(ix) Content analysis of palm oil policy documents (e.g. policies authored by governmental, industry, NGO, etc. stakeholders) and media reporting of palm oil in producer and consumer countries.

We are particularly interested in inter-disciplinary research and seek submissions from policy experts, practitioners, NGOs, and academics to enhance knowledge exchange with the industry. We also welcome reviews that will contribute to understanding the current thinking, knowledge gaps, and future directions for oil palm research in the tropics.

Keywords: oil palm sustainability, policy, practice, land-use, environmental/socio-economic trade-offs, biodiversity, emerging mitigation mechanisms, Environmental Sustainability

Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.

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