Oil palm plantation development on peatland raises peatland GHG emissions.

Pengembangan perkebunan kelapa sawit di lahan gambut meningkatkan emisi GHG lahan gambut.

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According to the report of Wetland International (Joosten, 2009), about 90 percent of Indonesian peatland constitutes degraded peatland. The utilization of peat land for oil palm plantations, according to various studies, turns out to have reduced peatland GHG emissions (Table 1).

Table 1:     Oil palm plantations on peatland reduce peatland CO2 emissions (degraded peatland)

Land Use

Peat land

Emission TonCO2/ha/YearResearchers
Primary Peatland Forest78.5Melling.et al.. (2007)
Secondary Peatland Forest127.0Hadi.et al.. (2001)
Peatland oil palm57.6Melling.et al..(2007)
Peatland oil palm55.0Melling.et al.. (2005)
Peatland oil palm54.0Hooijer. et al (2006)
Peatland oil palm54.0Murayama and Bakar (1996)
Peatland oil palm38.0Melling andHenson (2009)
Peatland oil palm31.4Germer and Sauaerborn (2008)

Secondary peatland GHG  (degraded peat land) emissions amount to127 tons of CO2/hectare/year. By planting oil palm on peatland, GHG emissions decline to 55-57 tons of  CO2/hectare/year (Melling. et al., 2005. 2007), Murayama and Bakar (1996).  Hooijer (2006) found a smaller emissions figure, namely 54 tons of CO2/hectare/year. Even Germer and Sauaerborn (2008) found oil palm plantation GHG emissions on peatland to be far smaller, namely only 31.4 tons of CO2/hectare/year. The differences in the study results were possibly caused, among other factors, by differences in depth and quality of the peat and management of oil palm plantations on peatland.

The results of Sabiham’s research (2013) show (Table 2) that carbon stocks in the upper level of peatland increases in line with the rise in the age of oil palm plants. Carbon stocks in older peatland oil palm plantations are even higher compared with carbon stocks in degraded peatland forest.

Table 2:       Comparison of the carbon stock in upper levels of peatland and on peatland with oil palm plantations

PeatlandUseCarbon Stocks (tonC/ha)
Primary Peatland Forest81.8
Secondary Peatland Forest57.3
Oil Palm:

– Age under 6 years

– Age under 9-12 years

– Age 14-15 years





Source:Sabiham (2013)

Based on the above empirical facts, oil palm plantations on peatland do not increase peatland GHG emissions; on the contrary they reduce peatland GHG emissions. Therefore, the utilization of secondary peatland for oil palm plantations managed in line with sustainability principles can reduce peatland GHG emissions compared with if they are left untended as secondary peatland areas.

Menurut laporan Wetland International (Joosten, 2009) sekitar 90 persen lahan gambut Indonesia merupakan lahan gambut rusak (degraded peat land). Pemanfaatan lahan gambut untuk perkebunan kelapa sawit dari berbagai penelitian ternyata menurunkan emisi GHG lahan gambut (Tabel 1).

Tabel 1. Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit di Lahan Gambut Menurunkan Emisi CO2 Lahan Gambut (degraded peat land)

Land Use

Peat land

Emisi Ton CO2/ha/


Hutan gambut primer78,5Melling, et al., (2007)
Hutan gambut sekunder127,0Hadi, et al., (2001)
Kelapa sawit gambut57,6Melling, et al., (2007)
Kelapa sawit gambut55,0Melling, et al., (2005)
Kelapa sawit gambut54,0Hooijer, et al (2006)
Kelapa sawit gambut54,0Murayama dan Bakar (1996)
Kelapa sawit gambut38,0Melling and Henson (2009)
Kelapa sawit gambut31,4Germer and Sauaerborn (2008)


Emisi GHG gambut sekunder (degraded peat land) mencapai 127 ton CO2/hektar/tahun. Dengan penanaman kelapa sawit di lahan gambut emisi GHG berkurang menjadi 55-57 ton CO2/hektar/tahun (Melling, et al., 2005, 2007). Murayama dan Bakar (1996), Hooijer (2006) menemukan angka emisi yang lebih rendah yakni 54 ton CO2/hektar/tahun. Bahkan penelitian Germer and Sauaerborn (2008) menemukan emisi GHG perkebunan kelapa sawit di lahan gambut jauh lebih rendah yakni hanya 31,4 ton CO2/hektar/tahun. Perbedaan hasil penelitian tersebut antara lain mungkin disebabkan perbedaan kedalaman dan kualitas gambut serta tata kelola perkebunan kelapa sawit di lahan gambut.

Hasil penelitian Sabiham (2013), menunjukkan (Tabel 2) bahwa stok karbon bagian atas lahan gambut makin meningkat dengan makin bertambahnya umur tanaman kelapa sawit. Pada umur dewasa stok karbon pada kebun sawit gambut bahkan lebih tinggi dibandingkan dengan stok karbon hutan gambut sekunder (degraded peat land).

Tabel 2. Perbandingan Stok Karbon Bagian Atas Lahan Gambut pada Hutan Gambut dan Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit Gambut

Land Use GambutStok Karbon (ton C/ha)
Hutan Gambut Primer81,8
Hutan Gambut Sekunder57,3
Kelapa Sawit:

– Umur di bawah 6 tahun

– Umur 9-12 tahun

– Umur 14-15 tahun





Sumber: Sabiham (2013)

Berdasarkan fakta empiris di atas menunjukkan bahwa perkebunan kelapa sawit di lahan gambut bukanlah meningkatkan emisi GHG gambut, justru sebaliknya menurunkan emisi GHG lahan gambut. Dengan demikian, pemanfaatan lahan gambut sekunder menjadi perkebunan kelapa sawit yang dikelola sesuai azas-azas keberlajutan dapat mengurangi emisi GHG gambut dibandingkan dengan dibiarkan sebagai lahan gambut sekunder.

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