The worst threats to biodiveristy include global warming, habitat destruction, and the introduction of non-native species into new environments. However, in the last couple of years researchers have began to refer to the expansion of palm oil plantations in tropical rainforest areas as perhaps the single largest immediate threat to global biodiversity. Palm oil plantations are devastating huge areas of rainforest in areas like South America, Africa, and most of all southeastern Asian countries like Indonesia. The palm oil industry converts tropical rainforests that support amazing biodiversity into monocrop plantations for production of palm oil – a substance used as both a food ingredient and a biofuel. In addition to the habitat destruction caused by this industry, clearing rainforests for palm oil is also a major contributor to global warming. Several environmental organizations are attempting to curb the damage by urging consumers not to buy products that contain palm oil as an ingredient, and fighting for government policies that prevent palm oil from being used as a biofuel.
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