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Rubber Agroforestry systems (RAS) in West Kalimantan, Indonesia: an historical perspective

Penot E., Ilahang A.. 2021. In : Asih Purwestri Y. (ed.) , Subandiyah S. (ed.), Montoro P. (ed.), Dyah Sawitri W. (ed.), Restu Susilo K. (ed.), Yoga Prasada I. (ed.), Wirakusuma G. (ed.), Dewi A. (ed.). RUBIS International Workshop on the Resilience of Rubber-based Agroforestry Systems in the Context of Global Change. Les Ulis : EDP Sciences, 22 p.. (E3S Web of Conferences, 305). RUBIS International Workshop on the Resilience of Rubber-based Agroforestry Systems in the Context of Global Change, 2021-04-05/2021-04-09, s.l. (Indonésie).

DOI: 10.1051/e3sconf/202130502001

In 1994 in the Sanggau/Sintang area in West Kalimantan province, most farmers relied mainly on jungle rubber, an old agroforestry system based on rubber seedling with low productivity, low establishment cost and low maintenance but high biomass and biodiversity. Most farmers at that period wanted to have access to clonal rubber planting material in order to improve their productivity (rubber clones do produce 3 times more than seedlings). The CIRAD/ICRAF/IRRI project called SRAP (Smallholder Rubber Agroforestry project) has set-up in 1994 on farm trials with 60 farmers in order to optimize clonal based new RAS according to local conditions and constraints. When SRAP started (1994/2007), the original objectives were multiple: i) to provide clone and high rubber productivity, ii) to maintain agroforestry practices to profit from positive externalities, and iii) to diversify income through timber, fruits, resins (Gaharu, Damar¿) and other forest products (rattan, medicinal plants, forest vegetables etc). In 1997, came in the landscape oil palm estates though the very high and rapid development of private concessions. Oil palm became in the 2000's the main priority for most smallholders. Today, all forest and most local jungle rubber have disappeared to the profit of roughly 2/3 of the area planted with oil palm (estates and smallholder) and 1/3 with clonal rubber for smallholder, either in monoculture or agroforestry. In 2019, CIFOR/FTA program funded a mission to CIRAD to obtain information about the evolution of RAS trials plots evolution in the province of West Kalimantan. The survey provide an idea of the historical and current trend in terms of local farming strategies concerning agroforestry. It raised also the question of clonal planting material availability for replanting and the poor tapping quality that lead to a reduction of the clonal rubber lifespan. Evolution of trials status over the period1994/2019 display the following results: i) Conversion to oil palm (20 %) or to clonal rubber monoculture (20 % mainly in Trimulia in Transdmigration area), ii) with agroforestry systems maintained in RAS 1 or 2 (50 %) and iii) evolution to tembawang at the end of rubber lifespan (10 %). We are back to the same problems faced in 1994: poor access to clonal planting material, no training on tapping frequency and practices but with some knowledge on clones and AF practices. The lessons learned are the following: i) Rubber agroforestry trials came right in time in 1994, with a strong demand from farmers, ii) but oil palm came in 1997 with a very strong pressure from concession companies providing a lucrative alternative to rubber cultivation with full credit (but loss of land) and better return to labor, iii) Interest in agroforestry practices remains high for old men but no interest is witnessed from younger generation, iv) It is now time for rubber replanting but the same old story remains: poor access to planting material), v) no good tapping practices, poor technical information available). These are essential to be able to maximize tree lifespan up to 35 years long....

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