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Is Palm Oil Suitable as Forest Plantation?



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Is Palm Oil Suitable as Forest Plantation?

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA – Palm oil plantations which were planted in forest regions are still in discussion in Indonesia.  Some proposed solutions, such as, palm oil plantations should be taken as forest plantations.

Dean of Faculty of Forestry, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM), Sigit Sunarta said, though the plantations are categorized in high economic provider and development motor in national scale, palm oil plantations in forest regions impact to decreasing biodiversity, increasing flood, drought, and fire in forests. The massive and expansive planting up to forest regions also impacts to people’s social and culture.

He also mentioned, it is irrelevant to categorize palm oil as forest plantation as the solution of ‘being developed in forest region’. It is a speculation to categorize palm oil as forest plantation and would solve deforestation issue or other issues that postpone palm oil expansion in national scale.

Deforestation is a global issue and becomes the interest of world population. Indonesia has ratified many regulations in international scale, such as, REDD+, Paris Agreement, and others. It is impossible to define deforestation just like we want to by hoping that international society will understand it.

“If Indonesia fails to realize international conventions which have been ratified, it will influence the position of Indonesia in geopolitics namely about the realization of nationally determined contribution (NDC),” he said in the official page of Faculty of Forestry UGM.

The proposal arose because there is a will to cultivate palm oil in industrial plantation forest (IPF) license or even develop palm oil IPF. It indicates that stakeholders cannot or do not want to solve their ‘homework’ to develop forestry industries which have high economy but implement sustainable forest cultivation principles.

“One thing to notice from the proposal ‘palm oil as forest plantation’ is the potential impacts of palm oil plantation expansion for it could escalate fresh fruit bunch (FFB) supply in the market worldwide. This is risky to decrease FFB price and will influence stakeholders’ income, particularly smallholders,” Sigit said.

Knowing the polemic or proposal, Faculty of Forestry UGM and other partners proposed Strategi Jangka Benah (SJB) concept as the alternative solution.

SJB is the policy – technic, and social approach which the goal is to improve the structure and ecosystem function of broken forests caused by ‘already palm oil plantations’. It will be running in phase by empowering institutions, scheduled silviculture (make palm oil agro-forestry), and policy supports. Jangka Benah has become a policy in national level as the publication of Government’s Regulation No. 23 / 2021 about Forestry Effectuation. (T2)