JOURNAL MONITOR EDITION 28 : THE ROLE OF OIL PALM PLANTATION SIMILAR WITH FOREST
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Indonesia’s oil palm plantations, which have been growing rapidly. Indonesia also has proven itself to be the largest palm oil producer in the world, all at once also the world’s largest producer of vegetable oil. The consequence of becoming a global player is having to face competition from competitors, one of unfair competition is a negative campaign. One of the negative issues that is widely used to inhibit the trade in palm oil and its derivative products on the global market is that oil palm plantations are considered the main cause of deforestation in Indonesia.
Efforts to improve the image of palm oil plantation and national industry were carried out by the Indonesian government by issued Presidential Instruction about Moratorium and implementing ISPO to ensure that Indonesian palm oil able to fulfill the sustainability aspects. In addition, there is the idea that palm oil tree is categorized as a forest plant to suppress the development of the issue of deforestation. This can be seen based on the role and performance of oil palm plantations with the ability to absorb carbon dioxide, harvest solar energy, and water management functions, which will also be compared with the performance and role of forest in these three aspects.
When compared between oil palm and forest. In netto, each hectare of oil palm plantations absorbs about 64.5 tons of carbon dioxide annually and produces about 18.7 tons of oxygen. Meanwhile, forest in a netto able to absorb about 42.4 tons of carbon dioxide and produce about 7.1 tons of oxygen. It’s menas capability of oil palm plantation in the functions are of absorbing carbon dioxide and producing oxygen, oil palm plantations are actually superior than forest.
Oil palm plantations when compared to forest have a better ability to generate energy, absorb carbon dioxide, and generate more oxygen into the atmosphere. But forest are better at storing energy (biomass). Meanwhile, in terms of water management functions, oil palm plantations generally have the same role in conservation and hydrological functions compared to forest. From these explanation, role of oil palm plantations that similar as a forest plants, so it’s iportant to consider the idea of including they as a forest plants.
In terms of the role and performance of energy harvesting, oil palm plantations are superior to forest in terms of a higher radiation energy conversion efficiency of 1.7 g mj, while forest efficiency is only 0.9 g/mj. Oil palm plantations are also superior in terms of photosynthetic efficiency, incremental biomass and dry matter productivity. Meanwhile, forest is better at storing energy (biomass). However, if what is needed in forest area management is how to produce more efficient energy, absorb more carbon dioxide and produce more oxygen, then oil palm plantations are the answer to that question.
Meanwhile, in terms of water management functions, oil palm plantations generally have the same role in conservation and hydrological functions compared to forest. Oil palm plantations that have a fairly long production cycle of around 25 years (from planting to replanting) mean that this hydrological and conservation function lasts for at least 25 years. By including oil palm as a forest plant category, it is possible for palm oil tree to be planted in Industrial Plantation Forest (read: Hutan Tanaman Industri/HTI) or Social Forest (read: Hutan Sosial). In addition, the issue of oil palm plantations as the main cause of Indonesia’s deforestation will be suppressed.