Rural farmers in Maluku, eastern Indonesia, depend on sago starch extracted from sago palm as a staple food. They also practice shifting cultivation, growing vegetatively propagated crops such as taro, sweet potato and banana as supplementary foods. What impact does this sago-based vegeculture have on the forest landscape? This presentation, given by CIFOR scientist Masatoshi Sasaoka at the 10th International Sago Symposium held in Bogor, Indonesia on 29-31 October, shows results from a study evaluating that impact. Findings indicate that 'sago-based vegeculture' exerts relatively little pressure on the forest, and may contribute, to some extent, to forming and maintaining natural forest-dominated landscapes in central Seram. Such forest-friendly agriculture also appears to contribute to the relatively high local biodiversity and carbon stock.
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