Forest energy production is better than that of oil palm plantations.

Dalam pemanenan energi surya, hutan lebih baik dibanding perkebunan kelapa sawit.

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The main source of energy for human life on Earth is the sun. Plants, both in forests and on oil palm plantations, constitute “harvesters” of solar energy for life on Earth .Comparing the abilities of forests and oil palm plantations to harvest solar energy shows (Table 1) that oil palm plantations are superior in terms of the efficiency of photosynthesis, the conversion of solar radiation and the production of dry substances and incremental biomass. Meanwhile, the index of leaf areas and total biomass stocks indicates the relative superiority of forests. Therefore, to harvest solar energy, oil palm plantations are superior to forests. However, for storing energy as biomass, forests are superior.

Table 1:      Comparison of solar energy harvesting effectiveness between oil palm plantations and tropical forests

IndicatorsTropical forestOil palm plantation
Leaf area index7.35.6
Photosynthesis efficiency (%)1.733.18
Radiation conversion efficiency (g/mj)0.861.68
Total biomass in the area (tons/ha)431100
Incremental biomass (tons/ha/year)5.88.3
Dry substance productivity (tons/ha/year)25.736.5

Source: Henson (1999), PPKS (2004, 2005)

If what is needed is a way to produce energy more efficiently, to absorb more carbon dioxide and to produce a larger amount of oxygen, oil palm plantations are better than forests. However, if what is needed is a way to store a large amount of biomass and carbon stocks and to preserve biodiversity, forests are better than oil palm plantations.

Sumber energi utama bagi kehidupan manusia di bumi adalah dari energi matahari/surya. Tumbuhan baik hutan maupun perkebunan kelapa sawit merupakan “alat pemanen” energi surya bagi kehidupan di bumi.

Jika dibandingkan kemampuan memanen energi surya antara hutan dan perkebunan kelapa sawit menunjukkan (Tabel)

Tabel.       Efektifitas Pemanenan Energi Surya antara Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit dan Hutan Tropis

IndikatorHutan TropisPerkebunan

Kelapa Sawit

Indeks luas daun7,35,6
Efisiensi fotosintesis (%)1,733,18
Efisiensi konversi radiasi (g/mj)0,861,68
Total biomas di area (ton/ha)431100
Incremental biomas (ton/ha/tahun)5,88,3
Produktivitas bahan kering (ton/ha/tahun)25,736,5

Sumber: Henson (1999), PPKS (2004, 2005)

bahwa perkebunan kelapa sawit secara relatif lebih unggul pada indikator efesiensi fotosintesis, konversi energi radiasi, produktivitas bahan kering dan incremental biomas. Sedangkan keunggulan relatif hutan adalah pada indikator indeks luas daun dan total stok biomas. Dengan demikian untuk pemanenan energi surya, perkebunan kelapa sawit lebih unggul daripada hutan. Namun untuk penyimpanan energi (biomas) lebih unggul hutan.

Jika yang diperlukan adalah bagaimana menghasilkan energi yang lebih efisien, menyerap karbon dioksida yang lebih banyak dan menghasilkan oksigen yang lebih besar maka perkebunan kelapa sawit lebih baik daripada hutan. Namun, jika yang diperlukan adalah penyimpanan biomas atau karbon stok yang lebih tinggi dan pelestarian biodiversity maka hutan lebih baik daripada perkebunan kelapa sawit.


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