Media coverage

Each year, CIFOR’s research and scientists are mentioned in over 1,500 news stories by local and international media outlets worldwide. Find the latest here, with over a decade of archives.

Small-scale farming threatens rainforests in Sumatra

A recent study probed the ecology of small farms in Sumatra, showing that small-scale farming can be just as damaging to the environment as large plantations. Research from the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) indicates that smallholder plot sizes vary widely, with many being as large as 200 hectares. Such smallholders are rich and often live in large distant cities. David Gaveau, an ecologist at CIFOR said that over the last decade these large smallholders have become an increasing force behind deforestation and landscape fires in Sumatra. Terry Sunderland, senior scientist at CIFOR said that many large rubber companies in Indonesia rely on output from the network of smallholders, which encourages the farmers to choose monocultures for higher yields. In stark contrast, most smallholder farmers in other tropical countries plant a diversity of food crops. It’s distinctive to Indonesia, especially to Sumatra and Kalimantan.