The growing global demand for palm oil has led to a rapid spread of oil palm monoculture plantations in South East Asia.
The growing global demand for palm oil has led to a rapid spread of oil palm monoculture plantations in South East Asia. This is often associated with the loss of natural habitat and biodiversity. Oil palm monocultures are uniformly structured and therefore offer little space for different species. Diversification using indigenous tree species can contribute to maintaining biodiversity. A research team from the University of Göttingen (Germany) and the University of Jambi (Indonesia) has now shown that such diversification can be encouraged with the help of information campaigns and free seedlings. The study has been published in the Journal of Environmental Economics and Management.
Oil palm plantations cultivated by smallholder farmers account for about 40 percent of the total area of oil palms in Indonesia, which means they are an important target group for interventions. The study of the interdisciplinary German-Indonesian Collaborative Research Centre "EFForTS" involved 800 smallholder farmers. "Smallholder farmers have little access to information, advice and high-quality seeds," says study director Professor Meike Wollni, agricultural economist at the University of Göttingen. "Yet, there is a high level of interest in diversification, especially with native fruit trees, as expressed by the local population in focus group discussions."
Read more at: University of Gottingen
Handing over the seedlings: some of the smallholder farmers received six tree seedlings in addition to the information. (Photo Credit Mariam Romero)