JOURNAL MONITOR VOL.2 NO.27 : PALM OIL PLANTATION : SAVE WATER AND CONSERVE GROUNDWATER

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Abstract

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Oil palm plantations have water and soil conserving mechanism system: (1) oil palm frond structure that is multi-layered and can cover almost 100 percent of land since the immature plant; (2) land management in palm oil cultivation; and (3) massive, spacious, and deep of oil palm fibrous root system (natural biopores). By using an evapotranspiration indicator, oil palm plantations are also more water efficient than other plants. Bamboo and Lamtoro are classified as wasteful of water at around 3.000 mm per year, then Acacia requires 2.400 mm per year, Sengon requires 2.300 mm per year, Pine and Rubber requires around 1.300 mm per year, meanwhile oil palm plantations only require 1.104 mm per year. To produce every giga joule of bioenergy (vegetabes oil/energy). Rapeseed requires 184 m3 of water, Coconut requires 126 m3 of water, Cassava requires 118 m3 of water, Corn requires 105 m3 of water, Soybean requires 100 m3 of water, Sunflower requires 87 m3 of water, Oil palm requires  75 m3 of water, and Sugarcane requires 28 m3 of water. Therefore, palm plants are more efficient on water use, for both growth and bioenergy production. Not only save water, palm oil plant also conserve groundwater reserve through fibrous and massive root system which forms natural biopores that functions to store water and soil conservation.
Perkebunan kelapa sawit memiliki mekanisme konservasi tanah dan air: (1) struktur pelepah daun pohon kelapa sawit yang berlapis-lapis dapat menaungi land cover mendekati 100 persen sejak kelapa sawit berumur muda, (2) tata kelola lahan dalam budidaya kelapa sawit, (3) sistem perakaran serabut pohon kelapa sawit yang massif, luas dan dalam (biopori alamiah). Dengan menggunakan indikator evapotranspirasi tanaman, kebun kelapa sawit juga relatif hemat air dibandingkan dengan tanaman hutan lainnya. Tanaman Bambu dan Lamtoro tergolong boros air dengan kebutuhan sekitar 3.000 mm per tahun, kemudian disusul oleh tanaman Akasia 2.400 mm per tahun, dan Sengon 2.300 mm per tahun. Pinus dan Karet sekitar 1.300 mm per tahun, sedangkan kebun sawit hanya 1.104 mm per tahun. Untuk menghasilkan setiap giga joule bionergi (minyak/energi nabati), tanaman rapeseed memerlukan 184 m3 air, kelapa 126 m3 air, Ubi kayu 118 m3 air,  jagung 105 m3, kedelai 100 m3 air, bunga matahari 87 m3, kelapa sawit  75 m3 dan tebu sebesar 28 m3. Dengan demikian kelapa sawit tenyata relatif hemat air dalam menghasilkan bioenergi.  Tidak hanya hemat air, tanaman sawit  juga melestarikan cadangan air tanah melalui sistem perakaran yang serabut dan massif membentuk biopori alamiah yang berfungsi menyimpan air dan konservasi tanah.
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