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Issues



Spread of plantations into forests

Oil palm plantation in Sungai Buloh, Selangor 
	© WWF-Malaysia/Azwad MN
Oil palm plantation in Sungai Buloh, Selangor
© WWF-Malaysia/Azwad MN
Conversion of forests to oil palm plantations is gaining concern. Palm oil, an edible vegetable oil is extracted from the fruit of the tropical oil palm tree for use in cooking and the manufacture of countless foods such as margarine, confectionery and ready-to-eat meals.

It is also used in the production of non-food products such as detergents and cosmetics.The latest potential large use of palm oil is as feedstock for biodiesel production. Because the palm oil industry generates valuable foreign exchange earnings and employment opportunities for tropical producer countries, it is the fastest expanding crop in the tropics.

This rapid pace of conversion from expanding oil palm plantations results in loss and fragmentation of natural forests that are high in conservation value with the countless wildlife species they house. The overall objective of the Forest Conversion Initiative is to ensure that High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) and habitats of key species in focal ecoregions are no longer threatened by the expansion of oil palm plantations.