Prolific Pongamia: Potential to restore equilibrium between people and planet

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Indonesia’s Ministry of Forests and Environment through its Nationally Determined Contributions under UNFCC has set an ambitious target to restore 14 million ha of degraded land by 2030 with 90% survival rate. This requires choice of right tree species in right landscape for the right purpose. The leguminous tree pongamia (Pongamia pinnata syn. Milettia pinnata) could be utilized to restore the degraded land while providing multiple benefits. Pongamia naturally grows across Indonesia, in Sumatra, Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara and Maluku. It grows to a height of 15–20 m and can grow in a range of environmental conditions including marginal lands. Its seeds can generate up to 40% crude oil by weight. Pongamia also provides, food, wood, fodder, medicine, fertilizer and biofuels. Therefore, as a multipurpose species, pongamia holds great potential to combat Indonesia’s energy crisis and to restore much of the degraded land.

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