What impact does the conversion of savanna to oil palm plantations have on soil fertility and carbon stocks? This is what the EPFL team began research on, during its first field campaign from June to August 2016. Welcomed and helped by OPAL’s Colombian team, they were quickly able to meet oil palm growers, visit potential research sites in the Llanos Orientales, find laboratories to perform soil analyses and establish a collaboration with the International Center for Tropical Agriculture in Cali. The sampling of plantations of various ages started soon after and is about to end.
Thanks to the warm welcome and willingness of collaboration all along the campaign, especially from the oil palm owners, this first field trip is on track to be a huge success! The collected samples, of tremendous value to the team, will soon be sent to Switzerland for further processing.