Oil palm farming is an interesting issue to many, which stirs pros and cons. There have been assumptions that environmental problems arise because of it. One of these is related to biodiversity. Oil palm is alleged to be the cause of the extinction of species such as orang utan and the cause of hydrometeorological disasters. As a monoculture land, oil palm farming is considered as the cause of flooding and drought as well as forest fires.
“There are many that support this notion. Therefore, UGM Faculty of Forestry offered solution of which we limit it down to 2.8 mil ha of oil palm farms in the forest, not the whole 14 mil ha,” said Dr. Hero Marhaento in Auditorium of Faculty of Forestry UGM on Thursday (25/10) during the National Seminar Research Update.
According to Hero Marhaento, forestry lecturer from UGM, oil palm issues were not just discussed nationally but also globally. It even became a geopolitical issue that made various European states reject products from countries that did not support sustainable development. It was even believed that oil palm was one of reasons of deforestation which sparked the idea to make oil palm as one of forest plants. But questions arise if changing the status would settle the problem.
Hero said the condition of the 2.8 mil ha farms in the forest is a fact, but this should be resolved. Actually, law enactment has been firmly imposed, but it has instead created conflicts. Faculty of Forestry, therefore, suggested to revise the procedures.
“We offer a concept for the forest especially for production forests in Central Java in mid-XX centuries. The concept is about the period of regulations for the forest stands to restore the stand stock into that of normal forest," he said.
The establishment of the mixed forest, said Hero, was an option due to various things. It will be very highly accepted by society, improve resilience of farmer income and society has the right to run the land and increase the forest ecosystem function entirely.
Dean of Faculty of Forestry UGM, Dr. Budiadi, said the seminar was a scientific forum for the Faculty’s 55th anniversary. Research and community service projects were displayed in the event.
“The theme has been selected because for two decades the forest condition has been declining. This must have correlated to the interaction between man and human or man and the environment,” he said.
As a result, the outcomes of research and community service projects in the past 20 years were expected to be the foothold to move forward and achieve Indonesia’s glory in forestry. He also expected UGM academic community to adapt to developments related to technology and information progress.
“What we would discuss is more or less related to the future of the forest ahead of the 100 years of Indonesia’s independence in 2045. So now we can propose options for government policy consideration in forest issues,” he said.
Speakers in the seminar include Dr. Ani Adiwinata Nawir (CIFOR), Dr. Marc Peeters (Bambu Nusa Verde), and Prof. Dr. Ir. Muhammad Na'iem, M.Agr.Sc.