The oil palm nursery is the first link in the palm oil supply chain where oil palm seedlings are produced for the cultivation of palms in plantations. One seedling is the defined functional unit. This article outlines the environmental impacts, identified using life cycle assessment (LCA), associated with the production of a single seedling, and the proposed mitigation measures. LCA is a cradle-to-gate study which starts at the pre-nursery stage, proceeding to the main nursery before subsequent transplantation of the seedlings in the plantation. An audit on electricity, diesel, fertilizers, pesticides, polybags and water consumption was carried out using data obtained from a questionnaire on the life cycle inventory of seedling production. The information obtained was then verified by follow-up site visits. The life cycle impact assessment (LCIA) was carried out for a single seedling produced, using the SimaPro software version 7.1 and the Eco indicator 99 methodology. Polyvinylchloride (PVC) pipes were also included in the study. Ecotoxicity was found to be the major impact category followed by fossil fuel and respiratory inorganics.
* Malaysian Palm Oil Board, P. O. Box 10620, 50720 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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Last updated: 24 February 2017
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