Study looks at species protection and palm oil development in Indonesia

August 16, 2020 |

In Germany, in an interdisciplinary study by the Universities of Göttingen, Hohenheim and Indonesian partner universities, examines the environmental, social and economic consequences of land-use transitions in a tropical smallholder landscape on Sumatra, Indonesia and the economic-ecological conflicting goals of developments for the oil palm landscapes.

Land-use transitions can enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers but potential economic-ecological trade-offs remain poorly understood. Here, we present an interdisciplinary study of widespread biodiversity-profit trade-offs resulting from land-use transitions from forest and agroforestry systems to rubber and oil palm monocultures, for 26,894 aboveground and belowground species and whole-ecosystem multidiversity.

Despite variation between ecosystem functions, profit gains come at the expense of ecosystem multifunctionality, indicating far-reaching ecosystem deterioration. They identify landscape compositions that can mitigate trade-offs under optimal land-use allocation but also show that intensive monocultures always lead to higher profits. These findings suggest that, to reduce losses in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, changes in economic incentive structures through well-designed policies are urgently needed.

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Category: Research

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