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Hungry Tire Industry Treads On Southeast Asian Species


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The expansion of rubber tree plantations to feed the tire industry could have “catastrophic” impacts on biodiversity in protected parts of Southeast Asia. While rubber plantations have long had a dark history in terms of the exploitation of human rights in Latin America — particularly of indigenous peoples — a new study shows that increasing numbers of rubber trees are threatening forests and endangered species in Southeast Asia. “There has been growing concern that switching land use to rubber cultivation can negatively impact the soil, water availability, biodiversity, and even people’s livelihoods,” said Eleanor Warren-Thomas of the University of East Anglia in a release. Warren-Thomas is the lead researcher of a study published in Conservation Letters. “The tire industry consumes 70 per cent of all natural rubber grown, and rising demand for vehicle and aeroplane tires is behind the recent expansion of plantations. But the impact of this is a loss of tropical biodiversity.” The study focused on areas of high biodiversity from the Malay Peninsula, Indonesia and Borneo to Southwest China, Thailand and the Philippines, among other places. ”Rubber can thrive across a wide range of climate and soil conditions across Southeast Asia, and could replace a whole range [...]

 

Read more: http://wildlife.org/hungry-tire-industry-treads-on-southeast-asian-species/

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