Oil palm trunk waste: Environmental impacts and management strategies

Thiruchelvi Pulingam, Manoj Lakshmanan, Jo Ann Chuah, Arthy Surendran, Idris Zainab-L, Parisa Foroozandeh, Ayaka Uke, Akihiko Kosugi, Kumar Sudesh*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


The replantation of oil palm in plantations occurs once in every 25 years. Felled oil palm trunk (OPT) is among the most abundant biomass left to decompose naturally in the oil palm plantations. Conversion of this waste biomass can contribute to the booming of secondary industries, which in turn opens up new job opportunities for the local communities. At present, however, OPT is predominantly left in oil palm plantations for soil enrichment purposes. This review aims to discuss the management of OPT waste to ensure the sustainability of oil palm plantations. The OPT has a unique chemical composition with high amounts of carbohydrates and moisture that enhances microbial degradation to release micro and macro nutrients into the soil. Pulverizing and windrowing partially decomposed OPT can help to increase the degradation of OPT. Apart from providing nutrients to the newly planted oil palm seedlings, felled OPT also serves as a breeding ground for pests due to the high carbon to nitrogen ratio which reduces the OPT decomposition rate. As a consequence, disease incidences and severity have been increasing drastically in consecutive replantation. Meanwhile, the removal of felled OPT from the plantation could cause nutrient depletion in the soil and increase fertilizer cost. Therefore, considerable attention from the scientific communities as well the authorities should be given to the management of felled OPT to ensure the sustainable production of oil palm.

Original languageEnglish
Article number115827
JournalIndustrial Crops and Products
Publication statusPrint publication - 1 Dec 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

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© 2022 Elsevier B.V.


  • Infectious pest
  • Nutrient source
  • Oil palm trunk
  • Sustainable management


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