PERAN KAWASAN BERNILAI KONSERVASI TINGGI BAGI PELESTARIAN KEANEKARAGAMAN HAYATI DI PERKEBUNAN KELAPA SAWIT PROVINSI RIAU
AbstractPerkebunan kelapa sawit dianggap menurunkan keanekaragaman hayati, namun keberadaan areal bernilai konservasi tinggi dapat digunakan untuk menurunkan anggapan tersebut. Sampai saat ini belum dilakukan penelitan mengenai keefektifan areal tersebut dalam kegiatan konservasi keanekaragaman hayati, sehingga penelitian ini digunakan untuk mengetahui sejauh mana peran areal tersebut di dalam mempertahankan keberadaan tumbuhan dan satwaliar yang masih tersisa. Areal bernilai konservasi tinggi mulai diterapkan di perkebunan kelapa sawit pada tahun 2011- 2014. Hal ini disebabkan panduan mengenai identifikasi areal bernilai konservasi tinggi yang disusun tahun 2003 dan perkebunan kelapa sawit mulai berdiri sejak tahun 1990-an. Dari empat perusahaan kelapa sawit yang diteliti terdapat dua bentuk areal bernilai konservasi tinggi yaitu sempadan sungai dan sisa hutan. Dilihat dari perspektif keanekaragaman hayati, areal yang berupa sisa hutan lebih efektif. Nilai keanekaragaman tumbuhan lebih tinggi pada areal yang berbentuk hutan dibandingkan sempadan sungai, namun keanekaragaman satwaliar memiliki hampir seragam baik areal berhutan, sempadan sungai, maupun kebun sawit. Hal ini menunjukkan bahwa keanekaragaman tumbuhan yang masih tersisia memiliki peran dalam mempertahankan keberadaan satwaliar. Vegetasi di sempadan sungai didominasi oleh tegakan sawit dengan panjang zona sempadan sungai 50 m dari batas tepi sungai sehingga masih diperlukan pengkayaan spesies tumbuhan seperti Bambusa sp, Swietenia macrophylla, dan Albizia saman.
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