Oil palm plantations do not absorb carbon dioxide.

Perkebunan kelapa sawit secara netto bukan penyerap karbon dioksida seperti hutan.

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Each second the Earth’s atmosphere is crammed with wasted carbon dioxide from human activities on the planet. Humans, animals, motorized vehicles and factories around the whole world emit excessive carbon dioxide (a greenhouse gas) into the Earth’s atmosphere, which has triggered global warming and changes in the environment. In order to reduce the concentrations of this greenhouse gas in the Earth’s atmosphere, besides by reducing greenhouse gas emissions, re-absorption of the greenhouse gas is also needed.

Each plant, both forestry plants and oil palm plants, has the ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Through plant photosynthesis, the existing carbon dioxide in the Earth’s atmosphere will be absorbed.

Through a plant’s metabolism, carbon dioxide is divided into carbon and oxygen. The carbon is processed and changed into parts of the plants (roots, stems and leaves).

Meanwhile, the oxygen is discharged into the atmosphere for animal life to breathe. Because plants have the ability to absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and produce oxygen for the atmosphere in return, green plants, including oil palms, are called as the “lungs” of the ecosystem (Figure).

If oil palm plantations and forests are compared (Table ), each ha of oil palm plantation absorbs a net 64 tons of carbon dioxide each year and produces about 18 tons of oxygen.

Table:   Carbon dioxide absorption and oxygen production of oil palm plantations and tropical forests

IndicatorsTropical ForestOil Palm Plantation
Gross assimilation (tons CO2/ha/year)163.5161.0
Total respiration (ton CO2/ha/year)121.196.5
Net assimilation (tons CO2/ha/year)42.464.5
Oxygen production (O2) (tons O2/ha/year)7.0918.70

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

 

Meanwhile, a forest’s net absorption amounts to about 42 tons of carbon dioxide each year and it produces about 7 tons of oxygen. Therefore, oil palm plantations are even superior to forests when it comes to absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and producing oxygen for the Earth.

Setiap detik atmosfer bumi dijejali sampah karbon dioksida dari kegiatan manusia di planet Bumi. Manusia, hewan, kendaraan bermotor serta pabrik-pabrik di seluruh dunia membuang (emisi) karbon dioksida (gas rumah kaca) yang berlebihan ke atmosfer bumi, yang telah memicu terjadinya pemanasan global dan perubahan lingkungan. Untuk mengurangi konsentrasi gas rumah kaca di atmosfer bumi selain menurunkan emisi gas rumah kaca juga diperlukan penyerapan kembali gas rumah kaca tersebut.

Setiap tumbuhan baik tanaman hutan maupun tanaman kelapa sawit memiliki kemampuan menyerap karbon dioksida dari atmosfer bumi. Melalui fotosintesa yang dilakukan tanaman, karbon dioksida yang ada di atmosfer bumi diserap tanaman.

Lewat metabolisme tanaman tersebut, karbon dioksida dipecah menjadi karbon dan oksigen. Karbon kemudian diproses dan dirubah menjadi tubuh tanaman (akar, batang, daun) dan produksi tanaman untuk kebutuhan manusia.

Sedangkan oksigen dikeluarkan ke atmosfer/udara bumi untuk kehidupan manusia, yang kita hirup saat menarik nafas. Karena tumbuhan memiliki kemampuan menyerap karbon dioksida dari atmosfer bumi dan menghasilkan oksigen (memasok oksigen) ke atmosfer bumi, tumbuhan hijau termasuk kelapa sawit disebut juga sebagai “paru-parunya” ekosistem (Gambar).

Jika dibandingkan antara kelapa sawit dan hutan (Tabel). Setiap hektar kebun sawit secara netto menyerap sekitar 64 ton karbon dioksida setiap tahun dan menghasilkan oksigen sekitar 18 ton.

Tabel.   Penyerapan Karbon Dioksida dan Produksi Oksigen antara Perkebunan Kelapa Sawit dan Hutan Tropis

IndikatorHutan TropisPerkebunan

Kelapa Sawit

Asimilasi kotor (ton CO2/ha/tahun)163.5161.0
Total respirasi (ton CO2/ha/tahun)121.196.5
Asimilasi neto (ton CO2/ha/tahun)42.464.5
Produksi oksigen (O2) (ton O2/ha/tahun)7.0918.70

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

 

Sedangkan hutan secara netto menyerap sekitar 42 ton karbon dioksida dan menghasilkan oksigen sekitar 7 ton. Dengan demikian untuk fungsi penyerapan karbon dioksida dari atmosfer bumi dan produksi oksigen, perkebunan kelapa sawit justru lebih unggul daripada hutan.

 

Figure Oil palm plantations as the "lungs" of the ecosystem

Oil palm plantations as the "lungs" of the ecosystem

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