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Characterisation of biodiversity in improved rubber agroforests in West-Kalimantan, Indonesia. Real and Potential uses for spontaneous plants

S. Diaz-Novellon, Eric Penot and M. Arnaud
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S. Diaz-Novellon: CNEARC - Centre national d'études agronomiques des régions chaudes
M. Arnaud: UMR INNOVATION - Changement technique, apprentissage et coordination dans l'agriculture et l'agroalimentaire - CIHEAM-IAMM - Centre International de Hautes Etudes Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - Institut Agronomique Méditerranéen de Montpellier - CIHEAM - Centre International de Hautes Études Agronomiques Méditerranéennes - CIRAD - Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement - INRA - Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique - CNEARC - Centre national d'études agronomiques des régions chaudes

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Abstract: Since the introduction of rubber at the turn of the 20th century smallholders have developed an original complex agroforestry system called jungle rubber in which non selected young rubber trees (seedlings) are managed extensively alongside secondary forest re-growth. The issue of improving smallholder rubber productivity at affordable capital investments and levels of inputs while maintaining the environmental benefits of jungle rubber has been addressed by the Smallholder Rubber Agroforestry Project (SRAP: a joint project run by ICRAF, GAPKINDO and CIRAD). In 1995-1996, 27 trials (with a total of 100 plots) were set up in three provinces in Indonesia to assess the possibility of associating clonal rubber with agroforestry practices under smallholder conditions (Penot, 1997). Two RAS types were selected for this study: RAS n° 1 and n° 3. RAS n° 1 is basically improved jungle rubber using clonal planting material (see a description of RAS types in annexe 1). The rubber trees are in competition with spontaneous vegetation in the inter-row but results show that there are no negative consequences for rubber growth during the immature period. RAS n° 3 was designed for areas infested by Imperata cylindrica, with the establishment of shrubby leguminous cover crops and fast-growing tree species in the inter-rows with the aim of shading out weeds. The other type, RAS n° 2, is based on intercropping clonal rubber with various annual and perennial crops, including fruit and timber trees (Penot et al, 1994). In all cases, RAS have a planting density of 550 clonal rubber trees/ha and a variable number of associated fruit, timber or fast growing shade trees (from 92 to 256/ha). In addition to the RAS experimental plots, "RAS sendiri" (or "endogenous RAS") are rubber agroforests improved by farmers without outside assistance. The district of Sanggau in the province of West Kalimantan was identified by SRAP as representative of traditional jungle-rubber-based local farming systems that have developed over the last 90 years. The district of Sanggau is located in the central area of the Kapuas river basin, between 1° N and 0°6' S and 09°8' W and 11°33' E. The district covers 18 302 km2, i.e. 13 % of the province. The trial plots described in this study are located in the villages of Embaong, Engkayu, Kopar, and Trimulia (the last being in the transmigration area). Most soils in the province of West-Kalimantan are acrisoils associated with ferralitic soils. Such soils have relatively good physical characteristics but poor chemical value and become acid. Rubber is widely grown in this area as it can grow in poor soils. The landscape is dominated by logged-over forest, secondary forest and a mosaic of jungle rubber and fallow with secondary forest re-growth. Large scale logging activities took place from 1950s to the 1980s at the expense of primary forest. At present, forested areas are located in hilly or remote areas and are very limited in extent. Oil palm and Acacia mangium plantations developed exponentially in the 1990s increasing the conversion of degraded forest areas into Estates that cultivate perennial crops. The main objective of this study is to assess existing plant biodiversity in RAS systems compared to that of jungle rubber. The second objective is to review the current uses of certain plants and their market potential.

Date: 2004
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Published in Gergold G., Fremerey M., Guhardjae. Land-use, nature conversation and the stability of rainforest margins in Southeast Asia, Springerverlag, p1 à p 19, 2004

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