Individual study: Contribution of agroforestry systems to reducing farmers' dependence on the resources of the adjacent Kerinci-Seblat National Park, Sumatra, Indonesia
Garrity D. P. & Gintings A. Ng. (2001) The contribution of agroforestry systems to reducing farmers' dependence on the resources of adjacent national parks: a case study from Sumatra, Indonesia. Agroforestry Systems, 52, 171-184
How best to integrate conservation and development to reduce pressures imposed by poor rural village communities on the biodiversity resources of protected areas, whilst ensuring villager livelihoods, is of major concern in many regions of the tropics. One often cited recommendation is to diversify farming systems in adjacent areas so as to decrease the need to harvest resources from such protected areas. The objectives of this project were to study the effects of the diversity of the farming system of different households in villages near a forested national park on Sumatra on their propensity to harvest resources from the park, and to determine the contribution of mixed farms and community forest to alleviate use of the park resources.
Study villages: The buffer zone of the northern part of the Kerinci-Seblat National Park is comprised largely of community or village forests and human settlements. The study was conducted in three villages located within this area in Solok District; Batang Lolo, Sungai Kalu I and Sungai Kalu II.
Methods: Interviews and field observations (the latter to confirm land use etc.) were undertaken. The head of the family of selected farm households were interviewed in each village based on farm activities according to one of the three basic farming systems present:
i) farms with only wet rice fields (paddies);
ii) farms with only mixed perennial gardens;
iii) farms composed of both paddies and gardens.
The number of selected households was 5% of those in each group, i.e. 14 households that farmed only paddies, 10 with only gardens, and 36 with paddies and gardens. Interviews focused on farmland management (including village 'nagari' forest), and also compiled information of forest products gathered from the park.
Households with more diversified farms (paddies and gardens) were found to have a dramatically lower level of economic dependency on park resources as compared to either households that farmed only mixed gardens (an intermediate level of park resource extraction), or households that farmed only paddies, which utilised forest products obtained from within the park to the greatest extent.
Whilst these results are apparent, how to diversify farmland subject to high human pressures remains problematic; long-term initiatives are required.
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