JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 4 : OIL PALM GLORIOUS, INDONESIAN BIODIVERSITY STILL FABOULOUS
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One of the negative issues used by NGO’s anti-oil palm is the development of oil palm plantations can impact on the decline in tropical biodiversity. This accusation is made purposefully to gain sympathy from the global community and with to achieve the global rejection of palm oil products. Indonesia also be accused dont have biodiversity’s management system so the NGO’s also sue Indonesia to adopt HCV and HCS concepts which is adopted by European and American country. Whereas since the ealy stages development, Indonesia has classified “deforestation” areas and “non-deforestation” areas as its own version of HCV and HCS, also known as protected forest and conservation forests.
The protected and conservation forests as a “home” for Indonesia’s biodiversity reached 41.26 million hectares. Indonesian government also allocated others area for cultivation zonesuch as farms, plantations, production forests, urban areas, residential areas and others. The expansion of oil palm plantations within the cultivation zone and does not interfere with Indonesia’s native biodiversity habitat.
The NGO accusations that accuse oil palm plantations as a cause of reducing the level of biodiversity in Indonesia also use the paradigm that is not quite right. The assessment of paradigm used by NGO anti-oil palm based on comparing the level of biodiversity in oil palm plantations with natural forests. Unequal comparisons can cause bias, this is due to differences in the characteristics of land cover types between forests or before they are made into oil palm plantations. In addition, in one landscape, the ecosystem of oil palm plantations has several habitat types that have so far escaped from the assessment so that the assessment of biodiversity level tends to underestimate.
Based on the results of research also showed that the biodiversity’s number of types in oil palm plantations is not always lower than the biodiversity in the ecosystem benchmark or HCV. Even the development of oil palm plantations in several areas of the study site increased the biodiversity’s number of types of herpetofauna and butterflies. In the use of the land use rights (HGU), the oil palm plantation company also does not use all the land for oil palm plantations and palm oil milling but still leaves the land forested (HCV area). This indicates that with a landscape approach that includes oil palm plantations and HCV areas, the biodiversity’s number of types will more higher.
Placing the blame on oil palm plantations in cultivation zones as a factor that threatens wildlife habitat so that these wildlife are involved in conflicts with humans, thus increasing the potential to reduce wildlife populations such as orangutans, elephants and tigers. The issue is not in accordance with the data and facts, because the decline in wildlife population is mainly due to illegal logging, illegal hunting and forest burning due to the opening of small-scale agricultural land. This factors showed of poor governance of wildlife habitats in protected/conservation forests. The problem must be improve by Indonesia’s government in order to protecting the biodiversity.