Sustainable Palm Oil Cultivation in the Peat

Sustainable Palm Oil Cultivation in the Peat

InfoSAWIT, JAKARTA –It is proven that cultivating sustainable palm oil in the peat could be done by maintaining the water surface in the dry or rainy seasons. Besides maintaining the productivity, the subsidence could be reduced.

Cultivating palm oil in Indonesia is not only done in mineral areas but also in the marginal areas, near sea, and in the peat. Cultivating palm oil in the peat becomes something to concern in the recent days. The reason is that cultivating palm oil in the peat triggers the areal damages and produces carbon emission.

That is why cultivating palm oil in the peat is something to debate by the environment campaigners (activists). It is not suggested to do and even, there is suggestion to restore the broken peat with other kinds of plantation, not palm oil.

Of course, this assumption seems to discredit palm oil though it has been done since tens of years ago. This article is not to debate about cultivating palm oil in the peat but this article wants to give a consideration for every side that cultivating palm oil, based on the researches in the field, could be done. But it needs to notice some things so the damages could be minimized and even vanished.

This article is written based on the research results done in palm oil plantation locating in Jambi. Its goal is to learn the rain effects to the water surface fluctuation in the water management. It also determines the optimum water surface for the palm oil to have and to consider the good, safe results for the environment in the dry season. The last is to know and to get the subsidence in the peat in the good water management in palm oil plantations.


The research used the data of the water surface depth from 2012 – 2015, the palm oil plantation were about 12 – 19 years of age. The total samples: Area 1:69 block,  Area 2: 32 block. Each block had 3 piezometer and 4 wells to survey. The surface depth for each block is 7 surveylance averagely. The water depth was surveyed in every single week.

The data of the water depth was classified into 8 classes, they were (1) WT >120 cm, (2) WT 100-120 cm, (3) WT 80-100 cm, (4) WT 60-80 cm, (5) WT 40-60 cm, (6) WT 20-40 cm, (7) WT 0-20 cm, (8) WT<0 cm (in flood).

Then the pole subsidence was put in 20 blocks, the decreasing of the land surface was measured in every single month. It used software  IBM SPSS-23 to analyze the WT. The impact of the WT fluctuation will be known in the next 2 years.


(Written by: Dedi K. Kalsim and friends. The article once revealed in 15th International Peat Conference on15-19August2016 in KuchingSarawak,Malaysia)

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