What happens when the soy and palm oil boom ends?

Over the past thirty years demand and production of oils crops like oil palm and soybeans has boomed across the tropics thanks to rising incomes, macroeconomic changes and government policies, and substitution effects. This rapid expansion has in some places taken a heavy toll on native, wildlife-rich ecosystems—especially rainforests, wetlands, and savannas—while exacerbating conflicts over land. As a result, this growth has at times perplexed and dismayed ecologists, environmentalists, and human rights advocates. However there are signs that the bonanza may slow as it evolves in response to changing conditions including slackening demand, higher transactions coforeststs for securing land, and productivity gains, argues The Tropical Oil Crop Revolution, a new book by Stanford University researchers Derek Byerlee, Walter P. Falcon, and Rosamond L. Naylor.

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