Improving the management of oil palm landscapes across Asia, Africa and Latin America


Funding : Swiss National Science Fundation (SNSF), Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation (SDC)


Year : 2015-2018


Description : 

The expansion of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is one of the main drivers of land use change and deforestation in the tropics. This expansion provides significant economic earnings for producer countries, corporations and smallholders, but at the cost of negative externalities within and beyond the landscapes in which oil palm is grown

The OPAL project uses natural and social sciences to build role playing games that reflect existing oil palm landscape realities. Using these games we aim to explore alternative oil palm trajectories with stakeholders and decision makers in Indonesia, Cameroon, and Colombia, to help chart a path towards more sustainable and inclusive futures.

The ECOS laboratory’s team study the impact of oil palm plantations on carbon and nutrient fluxes and how they are affected by specific managment pratices.


Keywords :

Tropical ecosystem, oil palm, carbon sequestration, soil fertility, sustainability, isotopic approach, Columbia, Cameroon, Indonesia


Collaborators :

Prof. Alexandre Buttler – PI

Dr. Thomas Guillaume – Post-Doc

Juan Carlos Quezeda – PhD

Johanna Rüegg – Master

Partnership :

ETH Zurich, Switzerland

Luc Hoffmann Institute (WWF)



Bogor Agricultural University (IPB)

Centre for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

WWF Cameroon

WWF Central Africa Regional Programme

University of Javeriana

Naturaleza, Energia y Sociedad (NES)

WWF Colombia


Study site :

Columbia, Cameroon, Indonesia


Links :