Factors influencing farmers’ tree planting and management activity in four case studies in Indonesia

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Indonesia’s natural forest, which has traditionally been the main and cheapest source of wood, has been deforested and degraded at an alarming pace. In response to a decreasing wood supply from natural forests and high demand for wood, forest plantations – including smallholder plantations – have been
increasingly established by different actors (e.g. government and private industries). These plantations also provide ecosystem services and represent new livelihood options for Indonesia’s large population of rural poor. However, the tree planting programs have often failed to take into account the socioeconomic and perceptional diversity of the local people involved. The lack of understanding for these issues has contributed to poor levels of success of such initiatives. As a result, the targets set to establish certain areas of plantations have not been reached, and the productivity and quality of the established plantations are generally far from reaching their full potential.
This thesis consists of three papers (published in peer-reviewed journals) based on four case study sites in Indonesia in which 412 households were interviewed and 127 smallholder plantations were measured. The aim was to study the socio-economic, perceptional and motivational factors influencing
farmers’ current and future tree planting (study I) and management activities (studies II and III). Study I also described how the income received from wood was used and the main disadvantages related to tree planting. Furthermore, studies II and III explored the growth and quality of the tree plantations and
how these were influenced by the silvicultural practices performed. The species studied were acacia, kadam, mahogany and teak.
Across the sites trees were planted mainly by the farmers that had more land, higher value of total assets, and more active participation in farmers’ groups or other social organizations. The factors influencing silvicultural management activity varied between the sites. When more alternative income earning
options were available, and where markets for low quality wood were available, farmers allocated minimum labor to silvicultural management regardless of their socio-economic and perceptional characteristics. In cases where few off-farm income earning options were available, some socioeconomic
factors were found to be positively correlated with silvicultural management activity; namely larger planted areas, years as a member in farmers group, positive attitudes towards tree planting, and higher numbers of household members contributing to income generation. In the teak sites, stands
were mostly of low or medium quality because of the low level of silvicultural management (e.g. poor thinning). Most of the kadam and mahogany planters conducted the recommended silvicultural practices, but only approximately half of these plantations were of high quality. The difference in stand quality
in all sites was most likely attributed to the varying seedling or site quality, or the specific methods and timing used in silvicultural practices.
Trees were mainly planted for economic reasons, and were harvested when cash was needed. Long rotation lengths, lack of capital, low wood prices, and poor access to production inputs or markets were found to be the main constraints to current and future smallholder tree planting. In conclusion it is recommended that smallholder tree planting could be enhanced by: a) improving farmers’ access to markets and reasonable prices for wood; b) improving farmers’ access to high quality planting material; c) improving silvicultural practices; and d) providing more resources to support the farmers while waiting
for harvest revenue. Furthermore, it is suggested that baseline information on the socio-economic, environmental and market conditions should be surveyed before implementing new plantation programs.
Tryckta ISBN978-952-10-9551-1
Elektroniska ISBN978-952-10-9552-8
StatusPublicerad - 2013
MoE-publikationstypG5 Doktorsavhandling (artikel)

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Academic Dissertation for the Dr. Sc. (Agric.& For.) Degree. Department of Forest Sciences, University of Helsinki.

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