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Farmers benefit from planting rubber and nut trees in agroforestry systems

Decreasing risks while increasing income
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A man taps rubber from a tree on a rubber tree plantation in Indonesia. The bark is cut at an angle to channel the sap into a container. CIFOR/Ryan Woo

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By using an “agent-based” computer model to examine the relationships between agroforestry, livelihoods and the environment in Indonesia, researchers learned that growing rubber and “illipe” nut trees together boosts farmers’ incomes and provides ecosystem services, including biodiversity.

The researchers, from Germany’s Institute for Environmental Economics and World Trade at Leibniz University of Hannover and the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), found that farmers in West Kalimantan province, who had these kinds of agroforestry systems had diversified their income portfolios, decreasing risk while at the same time increasing their incomes.

“Our model also predicted environmental benefits such as enhanced biodiversity and higher carbon sequestration,” reported Beatrice Nöldeke of Leibniz University, the lead author of the research study that was published in the journal Land, “The benefits of agroforestry for livelihoods and nature gained particular importance in the climate-change scenario.”

 

The agroforestry system the group looked at was an ‘illipe’ (Shorea stenoptera Burk) and rubber (Hevea brasiliensis (Willd. ex A. Juss.) Müll. Arg.) mix. These are both locally important tree species.

Illipe, which is famous for its oily nuts, is listed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature as an endangered species threatened by habitat loss.

 

This work was part of the Harnessing the Potential of Trees on Farms for Meeting National and Global Biodiversity Targets project implemented by World Agroforestry (ICRAF). The project is part of the International Climate Initiative of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety on the basis of a decision adopted by the German Bundestag.

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This research forms part of the CGIAR Research Program on Forests, Trees and Agroforestry, which is supported by CGIAR Fund Donors.
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