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Co-producing a research agenda for sustainable palm oil

Padfield, Rory, Hansen, Sune, Davies, Zoe G., Ehrensperger, Albrecht, Slade, Eleanor M., Evers, Stephanie, Papargyropoulou, Effie, Bessou, Cécile, Abdullah, Norhayati, Page, Susan, and others. (2019) Co-producing a research agenda for sustainable palm oil. Frontiers in Forests and Global Change, 2 (13). E-ISSN 2624-893X. (doi:10.3389/ffgc.2019.00013) (KAR id:73349)

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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/ffgc.2019.00013

Abstract

The rise of palm oil as the world’s most consumed vegetable oil has coincided with exponential growth in palm oil research

activity. Bibliometric analysis of research outputs reveals a distinct imbalance in the type of research being undertaken, notably a

disproportionate focus on biofuel and engineering topics. Recognising the expansion of oil palm agriculture across the tropics and

the increasing awareness of environmental, social and economic impacts, we seek to re-orient the existing research agenda

towards one that addresses the most fundamental and urgent questions defined by the palm oil stakeholder community. Following

consultation with 659 stakeholders from 38 countries, including palm oil growers, government agencies, non-governmental

organisations and researchers, the highest priority research questions were identified within 13 themes. The resulting 279

questions, including 26 ranked as top priority, reveal a diversity of environmental and social research challenges facing the

industry, ranging from the ecological and ecosystem impacts of production, to the livelihoods of plantation workers and smallholder

communities. Analysis of the knowledge type produced from these questions underscores a clear need for fundamental science

programmes, and studies that involve the consultation of non-academic stakeholders to develop ‘transformative’ solutions to the

oil palm sector. Stakeholders were most aligned in their choice of priority questions across the themes of policy and certification

related themes, and differed the most in environmental feedback, technology and smallholder related themes. Our

recommendations include improved regional academic leadership and coordination, greater engagement with private and public

stakeholders of Africa, and Central and South America, and enhanced collaborative efforts with researchers in the major

consuming countries of India and China.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.3389/ffgc.2019.00013
Uncontrolled keywords: Research priority setting, Agriculture, Certification, policy, stakeholder engagement, Transdisciplinary, Oil palm (Elaeis guineensis)
Divisions: Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation
Depositing User: Zoe Davies
Date Deposited: 03 Apr 2019 14:40 UTC
Last Modified: 28 Jul 2022 22:09 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/73349 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
Davies, Zoe G.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-0767-1467
Deere, Nicolas J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1299-2126
Bicknell, Jake E.: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-6831-627X
Struebig, Matthew J.: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2058-8502
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