Socio-economic considerations for land use planning: The case of Seram, Central Maluku

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Understanding the socio-economic conditions, the drivers for land use change and economic development, along with cultural and social characteristics, is essential to ensure that land use decisions are made that ensure positive economic and social outcomes are optimised. The CoLUPSIA socio-economic team researched the conditions facing communities and individual households across five pilot areas, each area representing different socio-economic and environmental/ bio-physical conditions. Household, village, key interview surveys and focus group discussions, were completed for 566 households, 19 villages, equivalent to approximately 7.6% of the total number of households and 20% of villages on Seram Island, Central Maluku. The results highlight the challenges that face the communities and how these vary across the pilot sites. For example in Pilot 1 on the north coast of Seram communities have growing populations, a lack of agricultural land with limited options to expand as they border the national park and in Pilot 2 alternative land uses for commodities and oil are posing challenges to the traditional way of life. On the south of the island in Pilots 3 and 4, the challenges of managing population and urban growth with access to land suitable for agricultural production, while maintaining use and access to natural forest (in part the national park) are increasing. The results of the socio-economic survey aim to provide a baseline that provides an understanding of the relationship between the communities on Seram and the natural resources - use and non-use, coupled with the needs for economic development. The resulting challenges and opportunities are identified and can be used in the development of land use planning processes and where possibly in the development of Payment for Ecosystem Service (PES) schemes.

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