Creating impact for ecological research in the palm oil sector

The palm oil industry is responsible for serious environmental damage but is vital to the economies of the countries where it is grown. Therefore, it is essential that we find more sustainable ways of producing palm oil which balance economic and environmental needs better. Scientists have an important role to play in solving this complex problem but we need to overcome barriers of communication, relevance and timeliness in order to create more impact for our research. My research focuses on understanding how biodiversity and ecosystem functioning respond to oil palm expansion and how we can minimise losses through better land planning and management. I will talk about the knowledge exchange process I developed to translate my research on forest fragmentation ecology into practical knowledge to inform industry practice. I’ll show how this approach has successfully generated uptake of science into new global industry standards and real change on the ground, as well as generating new collaborations, funding and research directions.