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Linking the transformation of production structures to a multidimensional sustainability assessment grid of smallholders' oil palm plantations

Baudoin A., Bosc P.M., Moulin M., Wohlfahrt J., Marichal R., Caliman J.P., Bessou C.. 2015. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, 22 (6) : p. 520-532.

DOI: 10.1080/13504509.2015.1090497

Oil palm cultivation has become emblematic of the trade-off between development and conservation that growers have to face in the context of global changes. This challenge between economic growth and environmental issues and the growing public debate regarding palm oil development and use require improving data availability to avoid ideological positions. The paper is a contribution towards the establishment of a multidimensional analysis grid to assess the sustainability of palm oil production based on an empirical survey with two levels: (i) holding and (ii) plot. We first aimed to present our approach based on World Agricultural Watch methodological framework. The empirical data were collected in Kampar District, Riau province, at holding level including one to two oil palm plots showing contrasted levels of management (semi-managed and independent). Our first objective was to capture the global rationale of the holdings, to define a typology that would go beyond the usual size-based classification. After assessing the place and role of palm oil production within the household economy, we then tested a set of three-dimensional indicators (i.e. social, economic and environmental) to assess globally the impacts of oil palm development through smallholder development. In a region where oil palm cultivation tends to standardise the landscape, overwhelm the local economy and polarise the households' activity systems, we could identify a significant heterogeneity at holding and household levels. However, the strengthening of our methodology would require a larger sample. (Résumé d'auteur)

Mots-clés : elaeis guineensis; petite exploitation agricole; exploitation agricole familiale; structure agricole; conservation des ressources; développement agricole; développement durable; agroécologie; indonésie

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