Oil palm plantation has a massive, extensive fibrous root system which provides a natural biopore system in the soil that is an important part in soil and air conservation
The myth built by anti-palm oil non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in the community says that oil palm plantation causes drought and flooding in the central areas of oil palm plantation. The NGO’s view is just an attempt to discredit oil palm plantations and are not supported by facts and results of empirical studies.
Actually, either on the global or national level, our society has denied this propaganda of the anti-palm oil NGO. Data show that extreme floods and droughts occur in almost all countries and are not related to oil palm plantations. In many European countries, North America, the Soviet Union, China, Australia and other countries, there are also frequent droughts and floods yet these countries do not have oil palm plantations. Similarly in Indonesia, floods and drought occurred in the Provinces of DKI Jakarta, West Java, Central Java and East Java. These provinces also do not have oil palm plantations.
International Agencies reported that global floods and droughts are caused by global climate change that is triggered by global warming and there is no link to the presence or absence of oil palm plantations. For those who want to know more about the relation between global warming and drought and flood can access www.3epa.gov.
On the domestic / local level, planting trees especially annual plants with a long life cycle, is suggested as an effort to reduce frequent droughts and floods. The purpose of this is that water can be hold in the ground and does not directly flow into the river, causing floods and erosion.
Oil palms as annual crops (replanted after 25 years old) have the function of soil and air conservation. Results of research by Prof. Dr. Ir. Erwin M. Harahap entitled: The Development of Oil Palm Roots in Degraded Land in Sosa Regency South Tapanuli Regency, North Sumatra, have proved that the system and activities of oil palm roots can improve the ability of oil palm plantation land in holding water flow (water run-off) and increase the capacity of water holding (water holding capacity). Both of these things increase the expanse of oil palm plantations (water catchment areas).
A study, which is a doctoral dissertation in 1999, has proved that the massive fibrous roots system of oil palm, with a radius of 4.5 meters from the tree base and a depth of up to 5 meters below the surface can create more and more macro and micro pores (natural biopores ) as the age of oil palm itself gets older.
With the pores, it increases the infiltration of water into the soil and the water absorbed by the soil is stored in the pores of the soil. Water stored in the pores of the soil in which oil palm is grown on, creates considerably huge water reserves. When dry season comes, water reserve is released evenly for the needs of oil palm plant itself, other plants, and for the needs of soil microorganisms. When it comes to the wet season, rainwater that falls into the oil palm plantation is absorbed to fill the water “reservoir” through the pores of the soil.
The system and characteristics of natural palm oil biopores also make the ability of oil palm plantation to hold the water in the soil improve better. This natural biopore system makes the oil palm plantation as the most important part of soil and water conservation. Thus propaganda that was built by NGOs that claimed the existence of oil palm plantation will cause droughts and floods is absolutely groundless. On the contrary, the results of empirical studies have proved that oil palm plantations have a natural biopore system in their soil that functions as soil and water conservation.
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