Farmers' perspectives about agroforests conversion to plantations in Sumatra: Lessons learnt fro m Bungo district (Jambi, Indonesia)

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Located on the fringe of the last tropical rainforests of Sumatra, rubber agroforests are known to conserve the main ecological functions of the primary forest, including a large part of its biodiversity. Nowadays these smallholder plantations are under threat. The regular rise of natural rubber and crude palm oil prices has been a major incentive for farmers to convert their agroforests into clonal rubber and oil-palm plantations. However, some areas seem to resist conversion. A multidisciplinary approach combining perception surveys and satellite-image analysis was designed to find out the reasons for these differences. In 12 villages grouped in 3 categories according to their agroforest conversion rate between 1993 and 2005, farmers were queried about the pros and the cons of the major cropping systems, their attitude towards conservation, and how they envisaged the future of their landscape. This method enabled us to elaborate the most likely scenarios of landscape evolution for the coming years.

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