Sunday, July 11, 2010

Integrated Oil Palm Farming in Bintulu

Part of Zone E of the Kambatik eco-farm.

Back in Bintulu I'm thrilled again on the development of my Kambatik eco-farm. Here I'm promoting the cultivation of oil palm in an agro-ecological perspective. For example, today I revisited Vegetation Island No.2. for the main reason that I was top-dressing and fertilising oil palm seedlings that were planted a year ago around the vegetation island. There were 8 nos that I managed to complete the tasks of clearing the debris, loosening the earth and finally fertilising the young oil palm trees and mulching them with decomposed leaves and organic matter that were in abundance insitu (see inset) . From the very top picture it is clear that some oil palm trees are planted in the open space between the two islands. But a year ago it was a real challenge to add more planting around the island while preserving the original vegetation and habitat of the island. Looking at the condition of the plants I'm convinced that the method is successful because the new seedlings are growing vigorously .
Inside the preserved islands is a complex story of symbiotic relationship between plants and animals, ants, fungis, betels, and many more living organism that contribute to the living habitat of the islands. In the above picture the lianas or climbers are used as a perfect station for the bird's nests fern ( Asplenium nidus).

Above is a view of Vegetation Island No.2, from Zone E of the eco-farm. At many of the fringes of the jungles or vegetation islands, I plant many species of local fruit trees. Chiefly among them are; Durians ( Durio zibethinus), Rambutan ( Nephelium lappaceum), Pulasan ( Nephelium mutabile) , Sour sop ( Annona muricata), Coconut ( Cocos nucifera), Bananas ( Musa), Mangoes ( Mangifera indica). This list is not exhaustive and my plan is to add more fruit trees in future making the farm a sort of mini-arboretum of fruit trees.
Horticultural plants are also part of the make-up of the eco-farm. There are attractive to sunbirds of various colours and types. Horticultural plants add colour the the green wash of the jungle and oil palm leaves.
My eco-farm has brought much pleasure, thrill and fun to me. It is special because I take great care to integrate the oil palm farming to an existing forest habitat or environment. Obviously, I'm not your conventional oil palm farmer because I believe sustainability is more important the short term profits.

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