Posted by: Fryana | December 11, 2009

Conservation and oil palm plantations

Environmentalists say that demand for palm oil, which can be found in many supermarket products from cosmetics to ice cream, has risen sharply in the world, in addition to the use of biofuels as part of a cleaner energy mix. This has resulted in the vast expansion of oil palm plantations, creating fears of threats posed to the forests and biodiversity in Indonesia, as one of the worlds biggest palm oil producers.

Palm oil producers, in the meantime, have defended themselves and tried to fight back, saying that palm oil has been always discredited as the main cause of environmental degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, while there are also huge soybean, corn, sugarcane and rapeseed plantations in the other parts of the world.

The demand for palm oil will likely keep on rising; and the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) has always stressed that palm oil producers are cultivating their crops in a manner that does not harm the environment.

According to the group, the oil palm has a number of competitive edges and advantages over its competitors both in terms of productivity and cost The productivity of oil palms far exceeds that of other crop-based oilseeds, producing six to eight times the yield of oil per hectare.

Economic growth, population growth and development initiatives, including oil palm plantations, have put pressure on the biodiversity in specific locations. There have been efforts, however, from governments and the private sector in collabora- tion with conservation groups to strive for conserving and maintaining biodiversity richness and abundance in wildlife reserves, known as high conservation value (HCV) areas.

“Under the auspices of RSPO, the concept of high conservation value areas has now been introduced at oil palm plantations,” Edi Suhardi, head of CSR at PT Agroindomas, said.

There are six categories of HCV under biodiversity, ecosystem services and sociocultural. The biodiversity category includes significant concentrations of biodiversity, significant large, landscape-level, such as forests, and threatened ecosystems; the ecosystem services include protection of basic services of nature in critical situations; and the social and cultural category comprises issues fundamental to meeting the basic needs of local communities and critical to local communities traditional cultural identity.

The group said that recognition of the importance of biodiversity on oil palm plantations is evident as the palm oil company will leave the HCV area intact and protected from any development A mechanism to ensure environmental compliance and prevent the utilization and conversion of HCV is developed and implemented from the planning stage of oil palm plantations.

“Prior to carrying out land development, the company needs to perform an assessment of HCV, which will be used as a baseline for plantation land in spatial planning to distinguish conservation areas that should be left intact, preserved and protected against development,” Edi said.

The industry is now working on strategies to ensure the proper management of the identified conservation areas, such as remaining forest, riparian zone, steep hilly areas and

corridor. Specific management approaches are carried out based on the value, function and structure of designated areas in order to main-, tain and enhance the biodiversity value.

These include periodic inspections of conservation areas to ensure that no illegal activities are taking place that threaten its existence and installing warning signs and necessary identification signs to alert both employees and communities regarding the importance and value of the HCV area.

Under the scheme, a company should integrate programs that foster behavioral change of the local community through education and awareness on biodiversity management actions across the operations and local community to strengthen the value of and appreciation for biodiversity.

Ringkasan Artikel ini

“Palm oil producers, in the meantime, have defended themselves and tried to fight back, saying that palm oil has been always discredited as the main cause of environmental degradation, deforestation and loss of biodiversity, while there are also huge soybean, corn, sugarcane and rapeseed plantations in the other parts of the world. According to the group, the oil palm has a number of competitive edges and advantages over its competitors both in terms of productivity and cost The productivity of oil palms far exceeds that of other crop-based oilseeds, producing six to eight times the yield of oil per hectare. The group said that recognition of the importance of biodiversity on oil palm plantations is evident as the palm oil company will leave the HCV area intact and protected from any development A mechanism to ensure environmental compliance and prevent the utilization and conversion of HCV is developed and implemented from the planning stage of oil palm plantations. “

Sumber: The Jakarta Post, Rabu 2 Desember 2009


Responses

  1. Hey, ok, I get it, I guess – but does this really work?


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