Published on 24 July 2019
The Copernicus Sentinel-2 mission takes us over palm oil plantations in East Kalimantan—the Indonesian part of the island Borneo.
Palm oil is the most widely-produced tropical edible oil. It’s used in a vast array of products—from ice cream and chocolates, to cosmetics such as make up and soap, to biofuel. Not only is it versatile, palm oil is also a uniquely productive crop. Harvested all year-round, oil palm trees produce up to nine times more oil per unit area than other major oil crops.
To meet global demand, palm oil trees are grown on vast industrial plantations—leading to acres of rainforest being cut down. Between 1980 and 2014, global palm oil production increased from 4.5 million tonnes to 70 million tonnes, and is expected to increase.