Endangered monkeys and apes could face new risks if Africa becomes a big player in the palm oil industry.
Most areas suitable for growing the oil crop are key habitats for primates, a study suggests.
The researchers, who are examining palm oil’s possible effect on Africa’s biodiversity, say consumers can help by choosing sustainably-grown palm oil.
This may mean paying more for food, cosmetics and cleaning products that contain the oil, or limiting their use.
“If we are concerned about the environment, we have to pay for it,” said Serge Wich, professor of primate biology at Liverpool John Moores University, and leader of the study.
“In the products that we buy, the cost to the environment has to be incorporated.