JOURNAL MONITOR VOL.2 NO.24 OIL PALM PLANTATIONS HAVE ECOLOGICAL FUNCTIONS SIMILAR TO FOREST
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When compared between oil palm and forest (Table 1). 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.