JOURNAL MONITOR VOL. 2 NO. 43 : ECOLOGICAL MULTIFUNCTION OF INDONESIAN OIL PALM PLANTATIONS

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Indonesian, English

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Currently, environmentalists are more interested in highlighting the impact of oil palm expansion on the environment, such as deforestation, biodiversity loss, and others. Whereas the phenomenon of deforestation is carried out by all economic sectors, the data also shows that the share of oil palm plantations is relatively small in global deforestation. These environmentalists may also ignore the environmental functions, that are inherent in oil palm plantations, such as the green function and blue function, in the concept of multifunctional agriculture. At least five ecological functions of oil palm plantations exist, namely: (1) the biological function of harvesting solar energy; (2) the function of preserving the carbon cycle (carbon sink and sequestration) and preserving the oxygen cycle; (4) the function of preservation the hydrological cycle; (4) the soil and water conservation function; and (5) the function of preserving the germplasm and multifunctionality of oil palm across generations. Oil palm plantations’ characteristics as perennial plants with relatively large and tall sizes, canopy cover approaching 100 percent, and a plant age cycle of around 25 years have implications for their ecological functions and benefits. The ecological functions and benefits of oil palm plantations similar or even exceed those of industrial plantations (timber plantations) or even exceed the ecological functions and benefits of forests. So, the multifunctionality of oil palm plantations is not only successful in preserving between generations but also succeeds in enlarging and expanding the benefits that can be enjoyed across generations, both in local, national and global level.
Saat ini, para enviromentalist lebih tertarik menyoroti dampak ekspansi sawit pada lingkungan seperti deforestasi dan biodiversity loss, dan lain-lain. Padahal fenomena deforestasi dilakukan oleh seluruh sektor ekonomi dan data juga menunjukkan bahwa pangsa perkebunan sawit relatif kecil terhadap deforestasi global. Para pemerhati lingkungan tersebut juga mungkin mengabaikan adanya fungsi lingkungan yang inheren (built in) yang melekat dalam perkebunan sawit seperti green function dan blue function pada konsep multifungsi pertanian. Setidaknya terdapat lima fungsi ekologis dari perkebunan sawit yakni: (1) fungsi pemanenan energi surya secara biologis; (2) fungsi pelestarian siklus karbon (carbon sink dan sequestration) dan fungsi pelestarian siklus oksigen; (3) fungsi pelestarian siklus hidrologi; (4) fungsi konservasi tanah dan air; dan (5) fungsi pelestarian plasma nutfah dan multifungsi kelapa sawit secara lintas generasi. Karakteristik perkebunan sawit sebagai parennial plant, memiliki ukuran yang relatif besar dan tinggi, canopy cover mendekati 100 persen dan siklus usia tanaman sekitar 25 tahun, berimplikasi pada fungsi dan manfaat ekologis yang melekat pada perkebunan kelapa sawit juga relatif sama bahkan lebih besar dibandingkan tanaman perkebunan lainnya (timber plantation atau rubber plantation) atau melebihi fungsi ekologis hutan. Sehingga multifungsinya perkebunan sawit bukan hanya berhasil melestarikan antar lintas generasi tetapi juga berhasil memperbesar dan memperluas manfaat yang dapat dinikmati lintas generasi baik pada level lokal, nasional maupun global.
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