12 Apr 2017

IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletter 2017 - 1

Quarter 1, 2017


Estimating Future Fertilizer Nutrient Requirements by Mature Oil Palm

Five countries from Southeast Asia region (SEA) which include Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, Philippines and Thailand, contributed about 90% of global palm oil (59 million tons) according to USDA in 2015/2016. By the year 2050, global food consumption demands for vegetable oil are estimated to reach 217 million tons (Byerlee et al., 2016) and 37% of the demands is estimated to come from palm oil. About 75% of the total vegetable oil demand is for food consumption while the remaining is contributed to biodiesel and other uses. We assume that SEA will remain the top palm oil producer, contributing 90% of the global palm oil until 2050. Thus, in order to meet the global demand for vegetable oil, SEA has to produce at least 96 million tons of palm oil in 2050.

We estimate the future demands for land use and fertilizer nutrients in SEA by looking at the 3 scenarios (Table 1) with the aim of producing at least 96 million tons of palm oil in 2050, which are:
    I. Increase significantly fresh fruit bunches (FFB) production while keeping land area stable
    II. Increase moderately FFB production with a moderate increase in land area
    III. Slight increase in FFB production with significant increase in land area

In order to estimate the nutrient uptake by the FFB under these scenarios, we use the following FFB nutrient uptake data for OP (all in kg per ton of FFB):
    a. For Indonesia: IPNI unpublished data (2017) and Donough et al. (2014), N=3.1, P=0.39, K=3.87 and Mg=0.51
    b. For Malaysia: Tarmizi and Mohb Tayeb (2005), N=3.25, P=0.33, K=3.51 and Mg=0.61
    c. For Papua New Guinea (PNG), Philippines and Thailand, we assume that nutrient content of FFB are similar to that of Indonesia

We are estimating palm oil production from FFB yields with 20% of oil extraction rate (OER) (Corley and Tinker, 2016).

Besides that, we also assume the fertilizer nutrient requirements to replace these nutrients based on fertilizer use efficiencies of N=46.5%, P=45.5%, K=48% and Mg=26.5% (IPNI unpublished data, 2017).

Land requirement
Scenario I: If better agronomic practices as well as breeding can help to increase the yield of fresh fruit bunches by 2% every year, then an estimation of approximately 102.9 million tons of palm oil production can be achieved in 2050. This increment is sufficient to meet the global demand without any increase in land area for oil palm (OP) cultivation.

Scenario II: If there is a moderate annual 1% FFB yield increase then a moderate increase in land area is needed. Specifically, an additional 5.11 million Ha of land are required until 2025, when the total mature OP growing area reaches 19.8 million Ha. From 2025 onwards, no further increase in growing area is required until 2050. We estimate that this translates into increases of mature OP area of 5% for Indonesia, 2% for Thailand, 1% for PNG and 2% for Philippines respectively, until 2025 but the area does not increase, and remains constant, for Malaysia. With this scenario, we estimate 99 million tons of palm oil can be produced in 2050.

Scenario III: If the annual FFB yield increment is at lower percentage, for instance 0.5%, then a large additional land area is required. Based on this scenario, we expect an additional 9.2 million Ha of land are required with total mature OP area reaching 23.9 million Ha. We expect an annual increase of mature OP area of 5% for Indonesia and it remains constant when reaching 18 million ha; mature OP area in Thailand, PNG, Philippines and Malaysia are similar to the scenario II. From this scenario, we estimate the palm oil production of 101 million tons in 2050.

Nutrient requirement
Under these 3 scenarios, the amount of fertilizer nutrients required to produce the needed palm oil are very similar (Table 2): between 3.3 and 3.5 million tons N, around 0.41 million tons P, between 3.8 and 4.1 million tons of K, and about 1 million tons Mg.

Now, we further assume that fertilizer use efficiency (FUE) will improve over the years with technology advancement. We look at two options including FUE improvement by 10% in 2020, or 50% up to 2050. Hence, the estimation of nutrient requirements in 2020 will be 1.7-1.9 million tons of N, 0.2 million ton of P, 2.0-2.2 million tons of K and 0.5-0.6 million tons of Mg; or in 2050, 2.2-2.3 million tons of N, 0.3 million tons of P, 2.6-2.7 million tons of K and 0.7 million tons of Mg.

This analysis is only considering use on mature OP trees. In order to improve the prediction of future demand in terms of land use and nutrient requirements, we suggest including replanting cycles into such scenarios to account for an expected reduction in total FFB yield and changes in nutrient demand during the immature phase of an oil palm development.

Table 1: Land use and palm oil production according to different scenarios

1 Scenario I - OP FFB yield increases by 2% annually from 2016 to 2050 without any increase in land area for OP cultivation
2 Scenario II - Assume that OP FFB yield increases by 1% annually from 2016 to 2050; area increase #1: annual increase of OP mature area for Indonesia 5%, Thailand 2%, PNG 1%, Philippines 2% until 2025, but area does not increase and remains constant for Malaysia
3 Scenario III - Assume that OP FFB yield increases by 0.5% annually from 2016 to 2050; area increase #2: annual increase of OP mature area for Indonesia 5% but it remains constant when reaching 18 million ha; Thailand 2%, PNG 1%, Philippines 2%, no increase for Malaysia, and there are no changes in land area for these countries from 2025 and onwards
4 Corley, R.H.V, Tinker, P.B. (2016), OER 20% from 1 ton of FFB

Table 2: FFB nutrient removal and nutrient requirement of oil palm according to different scenarios

5 Donough et. al. (2014). Nutrient content in FFB found in Central Kalimantan.
6 Tarmizi, A.M., Mohb Tayeb, D. (2005). Nutrient content in FFB found in Malaysia
7 Assume that FFB nutrient content in Philippines, Papua New Guinea and Thailand are similar to that of 4
8 IPNI SEAP SEA05 unpublished data (2017) on FUE

Graph: Estimated OP land use requirements in each country from different scenarios

    • US Department of Agriculture. Production, Supply and Distribution. US Department of Agriculture, Foreign Agriculture Service. 2015/2016 data. Accessed 5 Feb 2017. https://apps.fas.usda.gov/psdonline/app/index.html#/app/advQuery.
    • IPNI SEAP SEA05 unpublished data (2017) on FFB nutrient content and FUE.
    • Donough, C.R., Cahyo, A., Oberthur, T., Wandri, R., Gerendas, J., Abdul Rahim, G. (2014). Improving nutrient management of oil palms in sandy soils in Kalimantan using the 4R concept of IPNI.
    • Tarmizi, A.M., Mohb Tayeb, D. (2005). Nutrient demands of Tenera oil palm planted on inland soils of Malaysia. Journal of Oil Palm Research, Vol.18:204-209.
    • Fischer, T., Byerlee, D., Edmeades, G. (2014). Crop yields and global food security: will yield increase continue to feed the world? ACIAR Monograph No.158. Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research: Canberra, pp291.
    • Corley, R.H.V., Tinker, P.B. (2016). The product of palm oil and their extraction. The oil palm. (5th ed., pp. 467). United Kingdom, UK: Wiley-Blackwell
    • Byerlee, D., Falcon, W.P., Naylor, R.L. (2016). The tropical oil crop revolution: food, feed, fuel and forests. Oxford University Press, pp114


Palm oil inventories in Malaysia to drop first time in 4 months
“Palm oil stockpiles in Malaysia likely fell last December 2016 for the first time since August as production in the world’s second-largest grower dropped by the most in almost a year. Stockpiles fell 2.4 percent from November to 1.62 million metric tons, according to the median of eight estimates from planters, traders and analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. Estimates in the poll ranged from 1.46 million tons to 1.70 million tons, with two respondents forecasting an increase.”

Source: Official Website Ministry of Plantation Industries and Commodities, January 6, 2017

Malaysian palm oil safe, healthy, Mah tells EU
“Malaysia has assured the European Union (EU) that its palm oil is not only safe and healthy but also being cultivated with good agricultural practices.
In a statement today, Minister of Plantation Industries and Commodities, Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong, said the country’s palm oil industry was subjected to 60 regulations covering a wide spectrum of laws such as food safety, environment and labour. “Malaysia also upholds its commitment at the Rio Summit 1992 to retain at least 50 per cent of the land area under forest cover. “It is clear the industry in Malaysia is heavily-regulated,” he said.”

Source: Malay Mail Online, January 22, 2017

Thailand announces $11.3 billion 10-year plan to build sugarcane and cassava bioeconomy
“The government launched its 10-year plan to build a bioeconomy hub for the region with private and public sector investment expected to reach $11.3 billion as it focuses on sugarcane and cassava to feed modern biorefineries that will produce biofuels and biochemical as well as biopharmaceuticals, “future” food and “future” feed. The first $1.44 billion phase of investment is set for 2017/18, first in the eastern province of Rayong and later into Khon Kaen.”

Source: Biofuels Digest, January 25, 2017

100th year industry: Creating value for palm oil
“As Malaysia marks its centennial year of commercial oil palm cultivation, Plantation Industries and Commodities Minister Datuk Seri Mah Siew Keong said his focus, as flag bearer of the industry, is to raise productivity at the estates. “Oil palm cultivation is coming to 100 years. Since 1917, oil palm has done much to bring hundreds of thousands farmers out of poverty,” he said.
A hundred years ago, Henri Fauconnier established Malaysia’s first commercial oil palm planting at Tennamaram Estate in Selangor, in a bid to replace an unsuccessful coffee estate….”

Source: New Straits Times, February 4, 2017

Bản in : Rice production in Southeast Asia suffers from El Nino
“El Nino is taking its toll on the agricultural sector, especially rice production, in Southeast Asian countries. Thailand’s Irrigation Department has recently asked 22 provinces in the basin of Cho Phraya river to stop supplying water to off-season rice areas in order to minimise effects of the country’s most severe drought in many decades.”

Source: Vietnam Breaking News, February 6, 2017

Indonesia’s rice production experiences surplus after 9 years
“Agriculture Minister, Andi Amran Sulaiman, claims that Indonesia has experienced a rice production surplus in 2016 after nine years past. “After nine years, 2016 was the moment when Central Java, East Java, and West Java, sent rice supplies to Kalimantan,” he said on Thursday, February 2, 2017. Minister Amran explained that rice supply warehouses in Central Java and West Java are currently in full-stock. “Warehouses in Central Java and West Java are full. The supplies keep increasing while the warehouses are full, last year it was empty. This is great progress,” he said.”

Source: Tempo. Co, February 2, 2017

Dry Zone farmers struggle to switch to new rice varieties
“Kyaw Win is one of the millions of farmers who have long struggled to make ends meet in the harsh environment of central Myanmar’s Dry Zone. But last year he began cultivating high-quality rice seeds at his farm in Byinkat Village and closely followed the growing instructions for the drought-resistant variety, which was supplied by international NGO AVSI.”

Source: Myanmar Now, March 4, 2017

‘Satellite Data’ war Is heating up in Southeast Asia
“The ‘satellite data’ war is heating up in Southeast Asia. It’s because they desperately need satellite data to prepare for natural disasters, internet infrastructure construction and more.
Telkom, the largest telecom company in Indonesia, is about to launch a new satellite this month. Dubbed ‘Telkom-3S’, the $200 million satellite will be supporting Telkom’s voice and data services.”

Source: Asia Today, The World Post

Advances in digital agriculture to take center stage at Sydney Symposium
“Advances in spatial technology that enable digital agriculture, including a next-generation national positioning system and real-time monitoring of soil moisture levels from space, will take center stage in April 2017 at the International Symposium on Digital Earth & Locate17 in Sydney, Australia.
A new national positioning system accurate to between 2-10 centimeters—as opposed to 5 meters with today’s satellite-based GPS—will boost Australia’s economy by $73 billion or more during the next 20 years, much of it in agriculture, said Dr. Peter Woodgate, CEO of the Cooperative Research Centre for Spatial Information (CRCSI).”

Source: Asian Surveying and Mapping, March 28, 2017


Book Review:
Two recently published books have reached the IPNI SEAP library and are hence available for our partners and visitors.

  • The Tropical Oil Crop Revolution: Food, Feed, Fuel, & Forests (2017)
          • By D. Byerlee, W. P. Falcon, R. L. Naylor. Oxford University Press, New York.

            The book deals with production, supply chains and markets of vegetable oil crops, with special focus on soy and oil palm. Chapters on demand and supply, trade and markets, economic growth, and sustainability are included. The book is extremely well researched, comprehensive, content is factual, and the interpretation of facts is sound. As such, the book is a must read for all involved in the production, marketing of global vegetable oils. Furthermore, it provides a solid, measured and even-handed platform for those concerned about the sustainability of systems that produce vegetable oils. Highly recommended by us, as one of the best books on the subject that has been published in the last two decades.

  • The Oil Palm Complex: Smallholders, Agribusiness and the State in Indonesia and Malaysia (2016)
          • Edited by R. Cramb & J. F. McCarthy. NUS Press, National University of Singapore.

            The book deals with the oil palm complex and tries to answer complex questions: Who benefits and who loses from oil palm development? Can oil palm development provide a basis for inclusive and sustainable rural development? The authors set out based on the premise that understanding the oil palm complex is a prerequisite to developing improved strategies to harness the oil palm boom for a more equitable and sustainable pattern of rural development. Special emphasis is given to the situation, position and role of smallholder farmers within the palm oil production sector. It states that “Critics may be tempted to see the oil palm complex as a centrally coordinated capitalist conspiracy. Rather, we argue for understanding this complex as an ensemble of complicated, interrelated parts, the sum of different vectors, encompassing a variety of interests and relationships.” The authors methodologically attempt to unravel this multifaceted sector, and in many ways succeed in doing so. The book does not judge, but provides engagement pathways for improvement, especially so for the situation of smallholders. Recommended.

Yield Gaps in Oil Palm: A Quantitative Review of Contributing Factors
Abstract: Oil palm, currently the world’s main vegetable oil crop, is characterised by a large productivity and a long life span (≥ 25 years). Peak oil yields of 12 t ha−1 yr−1 have been achieved in small plantations, and maximum theoretical yields as calculated with simulation models are 18.5 t oil ha−1 yr−1, yet average productivity worldwide has stagnated around 3 t oil ha−1 yr−1. Considering the threat of expansion into valuable rainforests, it is important that the factors underlying these existing yield gaps are understood and, where feasible, addressed. In this review, we present an overview of the available data on yield-determining, yield-limiting, and yield-reducing factors in oil palm; the effects of these factors on yield, as measured in case studies or calculated using computer models; and the underlying plant-physiological mechanisms. We distinguish four production levels: the potential, water-limited, nutrient-limited, and the actual yield. The potential yield over a plantation lifetime is determined by incoming photosynthetically active radiation (PAR), temperature, atmospheric CO2 concentration and planting material, assuming optimum plantation establishment, planting density (120–150 palms per hectares), canopy management (30–60 leaves depending on palm age), pollination, and harvesting. Water-limited yields in environments with water deficits > 400 mm year−1 can be less than one-third of the potential yield, depending on additional factors such as temperature, wind speed, soil texture, and soil depth. Nutrient-limited yields of less than 50% of the potential yield have been recorded when nitrogen or potassium were not applied. Actual yields are influenced by yield-reducing factors such as unsuitable ground vegetation, pests, and diseases, and may be close to zero in case of severe infestations. Smallholders face particular constraints such as the use of counterfeit seed and insufficient fertiliser application. Closing yield gaps in existing plantations could increase global production by 15–20 Mt oil yr−1, which would limit the drive for further area expansion at a global scale. To increase yields in existing and future plantations in a sustainable way, all production factors mentioned need to be understood and addressed – L.S. Woittiez, M.T. van Wijk, M. Slingerland, M. van Noordwijk, K.E. Giller.

Source: Europ. J. Agronomy, 83: 57–77 (2017)

Field-Scale Experiments Reveal Persistent Yield Gaps in Low-Input and Organic Cropping Systems
Abstract: Knowledge of production-system performance is largely based on observations at the experimental plot scale. Although yield gaps between plot-scale and field-scale research are widely acknowledged, their extent and persistence have not been experimentally examined in a systematic manner. At a site in southwest Michigan, we conducted a 6-y experiment to test the accuracy with which plot-scale crop-yield results can inform field-scale conclusions. We compared conventional versus alternative, that is, reduced-input and biologically based–organic, management practices for a corn– soybean–wheat rotation in a randomized complete block-design experiment, using 27 commercial-size agricultural fields. Nearby plot-scale experiments (0.02-ha to 1.0-ha plots) provided a comparison of plot versus field performance. We found that plot-scale yields well matched field-scale yields for conventional management but not for alternative systems. For all three crops, at the plot scale, reduced-input and conventional managements produced similar yields; at the field scale, reduced-input yields were lower than conventional. For soybeans at the plot scale, biological and conventional managements produced similar yields; at the field scale, biological yielded less than conventional. For corn, biological management produced lower yields than conventional in both plot- and field-scale experiments. Wheat yields appeared to be less affected by the experimental scale than corn and soybean. Conventional management was more resilient to field-scale challenges than alternative practices, which were more dependent on timely management interventions; in particular, mechanical weed control. Results underscore the need for much wider adoption of field-scale experimentation when assessing new technologies and production-system performance, especially as related to closing yield gaps in organic farming and in low-resourced systems typical of much of the developing world. – A.N. Kravchenko, S.S. Snapp, and G.P. Robertson.

Source: PNAS, vol. 114 (5): 926–931 (2017)

Closing Yield Gaps in China by Empowering Smallholder Farmers
Abstract: Sustainably feeding the world’s growing population is a challenge, and closing yield gaps (that is, differences between farmers’ yields and what are attainable for a given region) is a vital strategy to address this challenge. The magnitude of yield gaps is particularly large in developing countries where smallholder farming dominates the agricultural landscape. Many factors and constraints interact to limit yields, and progress in problem solving to bring about changes at the ground level is rare. Here we present an innovative approach for enabling smallholders to achieve yield and economic gains sustainably via the Science and Technology Backyard (STB) platform. STB involves agricultural scientists living in villages among farmers, advancing participatory innovation and technology transfer, and garnering public and private support. We identified multifaceted yield-limiting factors involving agronomic, infrastructural, and socioeconomic conditions. When these limitations and farmers’ concerns were addressed, the farmers adopted recommended management practices, thereby improving production outcomes. In one region in China, the five-year average yield increased from 67.9% of the attainable level to 97.0% among 71 leading farmers, and from 62.8% to 79.6% countywide (93,074 households); this was accompanied by resource and economic benefits. – W. Zhang, G. Cao, X. Li, H. Zhang, C. Wang, Q. Liu, X. Chen, Z. Cui , J. Shen , R. Jiang , G. Mi , Y. Miao , F. Zhang, Z. Dou.

Source: Nature, vol. 537: 671 (2016)

Modelling Coffee Leaf Rust Risk in Colombia with Climate Reanalysis Data
Abstract: Many fungal plant diseases are strongly controlled by weather, and global climate change is thus likely to have affected fungal pathogen distributions and impacts. Modelling the response of plant diseases to climate change is hampered by the difficulty of estimating pathogen-relevant microclimatic variables from standard meteorological data. The availability of increasingly sophisticated high-resolution climate reanalyses may help overcome this challenge. We illustrate the use of climate reanalyses by testing the hypothesis that climate change increased the likelihood of the 2008–2011 outbreak of Coffee Leaf Rust (CLR, Hemileia vastatrix) in Colombia. We develop a model of germination and infection risk, and drive this model using estimates of leaf wetness duration and canopy temperature from the Japanese 55-Year Reanalysis (JRA-55). We model germination and infection as Weibull functions with different temperature optima, based upon existing experimental data. We find no evidence for an overall trend in disease risk in coffee-growing regions of Colombia from 1990 to 2015, therefore, we reject the climate change hypothesis. There was a significant elevation in predicted CLR infection risk from 2008 to 2011 compared with other years. JRA-55 data suggest a decrease in canopy surface water after 2008, which may have helped terminate the outbreak. The spatial resolution and accuracy of climate reanalyses are continually improving, increasing their utility for biological modelling. Confronting disease models with data requires not only accurate climate data, but also disease observations at high spatio-temporal resolution. Investment in monitoring, storage and accessibility of plant disease observation data are needed to match the quality of the climate data now available. – D.P. Bebber , A.D. Castillo and S.J. Gurr.

Source: Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 371: 20150458 (2016)

Oil Palm Adoption, Household Welfare, and Nutrition Among Smallholder Farmers in Indonesia
Abstract: Oil palm is one of the most rapidly expanding crops throughout the humid tropics. In Indonesia, the expansion is largely driven by smallholder farmers. While recent research has studied effects for the environment and climate change, socioeconomic impacts in the small farm sector have hardly been analyzed. Here, we address this research gap by analyzing effects of oil palm adoption on farm household living standards and nutrition in Sumatra. Using survey data and econometric models, we estimate average impacts, impact pathways, and impact heterogeneity. Results show that oil palm adoption improves household living standards and nutrition. Mean impacts on food and non-food expenditures, as well as on calorie consumption and dietary quality, are all positive and significant. A sizeable part of the total effects is attributable to oil palm adopters expanding their farm size rather than realizing higher profits per hectare. Oil palm has lower labor requirements than alternative crops (especially rubber), so that adopting farmers are able to manage larger land areas. Labor saved through switching from rubber to oil palm is also used to increase off-farm incomes. Impact heterogeneity is analyzed with quantile regressions. We find positive effects of oil palm adoption across the entire expenditure distribution. However, the absolute gains in total expenditures and non-food expenditures are larger for the better-off, suggesting that oil palm may contribute to rising inequality. – M. Euler, V. Krishna, S. Schwarze, H. Siregar, M. Qaim.

Source: World Development, vol. 93: 219–235 (2017)

ENSO Influences on Rainfall Extremes around Sulawesi and Maluku Islands in the Eastern Indonesian Maritime Continent
Abstract: El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO) influences on rainfall extremes around Sulawesi and the Maluku Islands in the eastern Indonesian Maritime Continent were investigated focusing on spatial and seasonal aspects using daily rainfall data at 23 stations during 1972−2012. The results show that inter-annual variations in rainfall extremes were strongly correlated with the ENSO phases. Wetter (drier) conditions were associated with La Niña (El Niño) events, in terms of total precipitation, rainy days, and consecutive dry days at more than 90% of the stations. Dry days tend to increase more than 2 months in the El Niño than La Niña years causing severe droughts in the region. Frequency and number of stations of heavy rainfalls increased (decreased) during La Niña (El Niño) events, whereas ENSO influences were weak (strong) on severest (moderately intense) rainfall events. ENSO influences on rainfall amount and number of rainy days vary spatially and seasonally. They were predominant during July–November but less during December–February. Heavy rainfall frequency was significantly higher during La Niña than El Niño years in transitional seasons. – S. Lestari , J. Hamada, F. Syamsudin, Sunaryo , J. Matsumoto, and M.D. Yamanaka.

Source: SOLA vol. 12: 37 – 41 (2016)

Diallel Analysis and Growth Parameters as Selection Tools for Drought Tolerance in Young Theobroma Cacao Plants
Abstract: This study aimed to estimate the combining ability, of T. cacao genotypes preselected for drought tolerance through diallel crosses. The experiment was conducted under greenhouse conditions at the Cacao Research Center (CEPEC), Ilhéus, Bahia, Brazil, in a completely randomized block design, in an experimental arrangement 21 x 2 [21 complete diallel crosses and two water regimes (control and stressed)]. In the control, soil moisture was kept close to field capacity, with predawn leaf water potential (ØWL) ranging from -0.1 to -0.5 MPa. In the drought regime, the soil moisture was reduced gradually by decreasing the amount of water application until ØWL reached -2.0 to -2.5 MPa. Significant differences (p < 0.05) were observed for most morphological attributes analyzed regarding progenies, water regime and their interactions. The results of the joint diallel analysis revealed significant effects between general combining ability (GCA) x water regimes and between specific combining ability (SCA) x water regimes. The SCA 6 genetic material showed high general combining ability for growth variables regardless of the water regime. In general, the water deficit influenced the production of biomass in most of the evaluated T. cacao crosses, except for SCA-6 x IMC-67, Catongo x SCA, MOC-01 x Catongo, Catongo x IMC-67 and RB-40 x Catongo. Multivariate analysis showed that stem diameter (CD), total leaf area (TLA), leaf dry biomass (LDB), stem dry biomass (SDB), root dry biomass (RDB), total dry biomass (TDB), root length (RL), root volume (RV), root diameter (RD) <1mm and 1 < (RD) <2mm were the most important growth parameters in the separation of T. cacao genotypes in to tolerant and intolerant to soil water deficit. – E.A. dos Santos, A.F. de Almeida, D. Ahnert, M.C. da Silva Branco , R.R. Valle , V.C. Baligar.

Source: PLoS ONE 11(8): e0160647

Climate Change – What Does It Mean for Oil Palm
Abstract: The climate has changed continuously for millions of years, and will certainly change in future, but the direction of change is far from clear. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) warm the atmosphere, and computer climate models predict droughts, floods and hurricanes as a result of rising temperatures. However, the models are unable to simulate past temperature and rainfall patterns, so little reliance can be placed on the projections. Based on solar activity, some authors have even indicated the possibility of lower temperatures in future. Global temperature has risen over the last century, and effects of this warming on climate may indicate what to expect if temperatures rise in future. For the tropics as a whole, wet regions have become wetter, and dry regions drier. In West and Central Africa, droughts have become longer and more frequent over the last 50 years. There has been a trend towards reduced drought in Colombia, but probably an increase in Central America and Amazonia. In South-east Asia there have been no clear trends in past rainfall; El Niño will continue to have major effects in this region, but is not yet predictable. Otherwise, there is no evidence from observations that warming has been or will be harmful, while the benefits of rising CO2 for crop photosynthesis and yield are well established. Crop water use efficiency is also improved under high CO2 levels. Oil palm development has both positive and negative effects. Deforestation affects climate, causing changes in rainfall distribution, and also releasing CO2. More importantly, biodiversity is irreversibly lost when primary forest is destroyed. Oil palm is often quoted as a ‘major driver’ of deforestation and thus biodiversity loss, but global oil palm expansion, including non-forest sites, was equal to less than 10% of forest loss in oil palm-growing countries from 2000 to 2010. Most studies do not allow for delays, often of several years, between deforestation and oil palm planting. However, even degraded forest contains much more carbon than an oil palm plantation, and the only way to eliminate GHG emissions from land use change, and to minimise biodiversity loss, is to avoid clearing any forest. Where peat is drained to plant oil palm, oxidation and CO2 emission will increase, but if peat swamp forest has already been degraded and drained, planting oil palms may make the best and least damaging use of the land. While oil palm may contribute to the deforestation problem, it also has a positive role in tackling poverty and as the main source of vegetable oil. Demand for edible oil is expected to reach at least 240 Mt by 2050, and palm oil will be able to meet this from a much smaller area than alternative oil crops. The palm can also be a source of biomass, and palm oil can be converted to biodiesel. Apart from minimising deforestation, mitigation of the damaging effects of the crop will require capturing methane from effluent digestion, and more efficient recycling of nutrients. The future climate in some regions may be drier, and expansion into areas with a dry season will continue. Where irrigation is not feasible, increased drought tolerance will be essential. High temperatures are probably rarely limiting except under drought conditions, where large vapour pressure deficit can cause stomatal closure; thus increased drought tolerance may also lead to improved high temperature tolerance. Low temperatures are a limitation; the palm does not tolerate low temperatures, and improvement could extend the altitude limits for the crop. If sea levels continue to rise, flooding and salinity may become more important in low-lying areas, and good water table management will be essential. Better tolerance of a high water table could also be beneficial for peat plantings, as the higher the water table the lower the rate of peat loss. – R.H.V. Corley.

Source: 5th International Conference on Oil Palm and Environment (ICOPE 2016)


We have also updated our SEAP Reference Database with references dealing mainly with the following topics: cocoa, plant nutrients and oil palm. For a complete listing of these references, please click here.


Press Release
IPNI Southeast Asia Program has disseminated the following press releases in the first quarter of 2017:
News in TV


Webinar - Closing Yield Gaps in Oil Palm: Opportunities and Challenges by Dr. Munir Hoffman
20 April 2017

Webinar - 35 Years of Progress in Crop Nutrition and Agronomy by Dr. Paul Fixen
10 May 2017

13th ISP National Seminar 2017 (NATSEM 2017)
17 - 19 July 2017
Subang, Selangor, Malaysia

PALMEX Thailand 2017
17 - 18 August 2017
Surat Thani, Thailand

MOSTA Oil Palm: Best Practices Workshop 2017
12 - 14 September 2017
Ipoh, Perak, Malaysia

PALMEX Indonesia 2017
3 - 5 October 2017
Medan, North Sumatra, Indonesia

International Palm Oil Congress and Exhibition (PIPOC) 2017
14 - 16 November 2017
Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Subscribe to the IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletter

The IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletter aims to provide information on recent activities of our program and selected news on regional developments.
If you would like be on our mailing list, please subscribe here.

To access previous issues of our newsletter, please click here.

Disclaimer: News from the Region is a selection of regional agriculture-related articles extracted from internet sources. IPNI does not verify, endorse, or take responsibility for the accuracy, currency, completeness or quality of the content in these sites. Due to the nature of this service, IPNI cannot always verify every single news item. Be sure to check with the official websites of the companies, universities, research centers, and government agencies before using any information in the IPNI SEAP Quarterly Newsletters or webpages, as IPNI cannot vouch for news items submitted by the public. Links to external websites are included for the sole purpose of providing easy access to the source. The inclusion of external hyperlinks does not constitute IPNI’s endorsement of the views expressed by these websites. IPNI shall not be responsible for any damages caused directly or indirectly by the use of any information or content from within linked websites.

More about: Newsletters