Biofuel-friendly trees could help land restoration

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In Indonesia, biofuel plantations could be central to meeting landscape restoration targets in Indonesia while helping the country meet growing energy demand. Scientists with the Center for International Forestry Research, the Korean National Institute of Forest Science, and Indonesia’s University of Muhammadiyah Palangkaraya are currently conducting a collaborative research project to identify the most promising and productive bioenergy crops suited to degraded and underutilized lands. The aim is to demonstrate methods of bioenergy production that do not compete with food production and environmental conservation, but contribute to it.

After planting tree trials, the scientists tentatively identified nyamplung (Calophyllum inophyllum) as the most adaptive bioenergy tree species for degraded peatlands in the area, their report states. The nyamplung grew best when it was planted in a mixed agroforestry setting, rather than monoculture. In the case of the nyamplung only the seeds are collected to produce biodiesel and replace fossil fuels, which means the tree remains in the landscape providing other environmental services.