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Modelling as a tool for spatial planning of commodity production: the example of certified oil palm plantations in Central Africa

Feintrenie L., Nkoua M., Saidi S., Gazull L.. 2014. In : Worldbank. Annual World Bank Conference on Land and Poverty, Washington DC, USA, March 24th-27th 2014. s.l. : s.n., 25 p..

The Central African region is targeted by agri-business companies as a suitable place to develop large plantations. Most of the existing assessments of available land are based on an a priori definition of availability and without any operational-level rules of sustainability. We intend to estimate the potential for a sustainable development of oil palm plantations in the Republic of Congo, taking into account spatial constraints linked to RSPO certification standard and groundchecked social realities. The analysis builds on an assessment of current land uses and prospects and on spatial analysis. Spatial constraints are combined so as to circumscribe areas suitable for oil palm, available for development, responding to the sustainability criteria of RSPO and adequate to the technical model proposed. This analysis results in an estimation of 10.7 Million ha theoretically suitable for oil palm. From this, 1.4 Mha should be available but the technical model applied limits this area to 1.1 Mha adequate for industrial plantations, and 0.1 Mha adequate for smallholdings. Explicit spatial modelling of sustainable production is possible at national scale. This tool allows to take into account the certification standards in land use planning and to highlight new possible areas of development outside natural forests.

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