Fast Growing Plantation: Is It Good or Bad? | b l o g o d r i l

07 June 2009

Fast Growing Plantation: Is It Good or Bad?

The current decline in biodiversity is largely the result of human activities from habitat destruction, over-harvesting, pollution and inappropriate introduction of exotic plants and animals. The diversity of natural ecological communities has never been more valued than they are now, as they become increasingly threatened by the environment crises [1]. Efforts are, therefore, needed to conserve biological resources and utilize them on sustainable basic and maintain genes, species and ecosystems[2].

Establishing plantations might sound like a valuable solution. Trees, after all, have many characteristics. They convert water, sunlight and carbon dioxide into wood and oxygen, and it is frequently claimed that they regulate the water cycle, stabilize steep slopes against erosion and prevent flooding. Trees also provide a habitat for countless creatures and microorganisms, and hundreds of millions of people rely on them for timber, firewood, fruit, nuts, resins and other products.

Afforestation programs implement monoculture plantation of fast-growing species like Acacia, Teak, Eucalyptus, Gmelina , Poplar, etc. The "fast-growing" plantation has proved to be an effective choice to initially reforest the degraded areas, then to transform into permanent forest. But, there is also controversy of the planting of fast growing trees, especially in the developing world.

According to Cossalter and Pye-Smith, who outlined in Huy [1], critics of these “fast-wood” plantations include environmentalists, who argue that they are replacing natural forests and causing harm to wildlife, water resources and the soil, and local communities, who complain that plantations are taking over land which previously provided them with the means to feed them and earn a living. This has become a major issue, particularly where “fast-wood” plantations are significant land use.

Fast-wood plantation are those which are intensively managed for commercial plantation, set in blocks of a single species, which produce industrial round wood at high growth rates (mean annual increment of no less than 15 m3 per ha) and which are harvested in less than 20-year rotation [3]. The sole purpose of fast-wood plantations, in contrast to plantation, is to produce large volume of small-diameter logs at competitive prices as quick as possible supplied as raw material for the pulping and paper industries.

The preliminary study of Fast-growing plantation was held by Huy [1] are to conclude that fast growing plantation would be set to become one of the most important forms of industrial development over the coming decades. It is neither inherently good nor inherently bad. It is a neutral technology which, when poorly planned and executed, can cause grave problems; and which, when well planned and executed, can deliver not just large quantities of wood, but a range of environmental and social benefits. Obviously, if, plantations replace natural forest, or take over lands previously used by farmers, they might be considered a bad thing. If, on the other hand, they are sensitively sited on degraded lands and managed by local communities, the opposite will hold true
It is essential that, Indonesia governments adopt a landscape approach to plantation development. A plantation project, especially the commercial plantations which are established by private companies, should not be allowed to implement, if it could not prove to supply with a full range of forest goods and services at landscape level and it would lead to the loss of primary forests or other important ecosystems. In any cases, local communities need to be involved in the earliest stage of planning and development.

[1] Huy, L.K. 2004. Fast Growing Species Plantations Myths and Reality and Their Effect on Species Diversity. COLLEGE OF FORESTRY, DR. Y.S. PARMAR UNIVERSITY OF HORTICULTURE AND FORESTRY
[2] Verma, R.K. 2000. Analysis of species diversity and soil quality under Tectona grandis L.f. and Acacia catechu (L.f.) Wild plantations raised on degraded bhata land. Indian Journal of Ecology. 27(2): 97-108
[3] Cossalter, C. and Pye-Smith C. 2003. Fast-wood forestry: myths & realities. CIFOR,Indonesia.

Related Posts:
1.Trees are growing faster and could buy time to halt global warming
2.Can Restoring Forests solve Indonesia unemployment problem?

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