'Palm oil plantations may have brought revenue into the country, but they’ve caused a multitude of problems of well. From fire-induced deforestation to shrunken orangutan populations, the environmental impact of palm oil plantations is nothing short of overwhelming. Yet a small team of researchers from the Stability of Altered Forest Ecosystems (SAFE) project has revealed another consequence that no one could have seen coming: a rash of gigantic lizards skulking about land-disturbed areas.
In an article published on DailyMail.co.uk, researcher Joshua P. Twining explains that he and his colleagues uncovered this disturbing fact while conducting a study on Borneo’s scavenger communities. “Scavengers are an important but often overlooked group in understanding how ecosystems function. They provide vital services including the removal of carrion, which is a crucial component in recycling nutrients and preventing disease. And disruption of these groups has possible far-reaching implications,” Twining writes.
For their study, the researchers designed and laid out baited traps along various sites: some were within virgin jungle areas, others in logged forests, and even more near oil palms. They caught 118 different animals overall, with the most common being the Southeast Asian water monitor (Varanus salvator macromaculatus) and the Malay civet (Viverra tangalunga).'
Read more: Industrial agriculture terrorizes Borneo: Palm oil plantations are responsible for deforestation, fires, habitat loss, air pollution
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