Sugar palm (Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr.) for livelihoods and biodiversity conservation in the orangutan habitat of Batang Toru, North Sumatra, Indonesia: mixed prospects for domestication

Domestication of desirable forest resources in agroforestry is expected to contribute to community based forest conservation efforts, but there may be an optimum level of domestication in this respect. Aren or sugar palm (Arenga pinnata (Wurmb) Merr.) is a multipurpose tree that provides livelihoods for local people and food for other biota in the landscape. However, its domestication is still limited in many places, such as in Batang Toru Forest Block, an area of high conservation value, including habitat for the Sumatran orangutan (Pongo abelii). Options for aren management were prioritized as part of a landscape-scale conservation study by comparing domestication levels in the area. Data on economic indicators and ecological knowledge were gathered through interviews with key farmers, focus groups and transect walks. Four representative villages were selected for the study, that is, (i) two villages with no domestication of aren; and (ii) two villages with aren cultivation in rubber-based land-use systems. Costbenefit analyses suggested that in a rich biodiversity area, such as Batang Toru, although aren was one of the sources of local livelihoods, additional investment for domestication beyond cultivation was not an option considered by farmers. Farmers still perceived wildlife as an efficient mode of aren regeneration, supported by
the coexistence of people and other biota in the area. It appears the value of aren for local people’™s livelihoods and conservation can be enhanced by increasing its stocking density. There is also scope for improving market access and share of end-user value received by farmers.

GEOGLAM (GEO Global Agricultural Monitoring) Crop Assessment Tool

The Group on Earth Observations, a partnership of governments and international organizations, developed the Global Agricultural Monitoring (GEOGLAM) initiative in response to the growing calls for improved agricultural information. The goal of GEOGLAM is to strengthen the international community’s capacity to produce and disseminate relevant, timely and accurate forecasts of agricultural production at national, regional and global scales through the use of Earth Observations (EO), which include satellite and ground-based observations. This initiative is designed to build on existing agricultural monitoring programs and initiatives at national, regional and global levels and to enhance and strengthen them through international networking, operationally focused research, and data/method sharing.

The GEOGLAM Crop Monitor provides the Agricultural Market Information System (AMIS) with an international and transparent multi-source, consensus assessment of crop growing conditions, status, and agro-climatic conditions, likely to impact global production. This activity covers the four primary crop types (wheat, maize, rice, and soy) within the main agricultural producing regions of the AMIS countries. These assessments have been produced operationally since September 2013 and are published in the AMIS Market Monitor Bulletin. The Crop Monitor reports provide cartographic and textual summaries of crop conditions as of the 28th of each month, according to crop type.

Sources and Disclaimers: The Crop Monitor assessment is conducted by GEOGLAM with coordination from the University of Maryland. Inputs are from the following partners (in alphabetical order): Argentina (Buenos Aires Grains Exchange, INTA), Asia Rice Countries (AFSIS, ASEAN+3 & Asia RiCE), Australia (ABARES & CSIRO), Brazil (CONAB & INPE), Canada (AAFC), China (CAS), EU (EC JRC MARS), Indonesia (LAPAN & MOA), International (CIMMYT, FAO, IFPRI & IRRI), Japan (JAXA ), Mexico (SIAP), Russian Federation (IKI), South Africa (ARC & GeoTerraImage & SANSA), Thailand (GISTDA & OAE), Ukraine (NASU-NSAU & UHMC), USA (NASA, UMD, USGS – FEWS NET, USDA (FAS, NASS)), Viet nam (VAST & VIMHE-MARD). The findings and conclusions in this joint multi-agency report are consensual statements from the GEOGLAM experts, and do not necessarily reflect those of the individual agencies represented by these experts. Map data sources: Major crop type areas based on the IFPRI/IIASA SPAM 2005 beta release (2013), USDA/NASS 2013 CDL, 2013 AAFC Annual Crop Inventory Map, GLAM/UMD, GLAD/UMD, Australian Land Use and Management Classification (Version 7), SIAP, ARC, and JRC. The GEOGLAM crop calendars are compiled with information from AAFC, ABARES, ARC, Asia RiCE, Bolsa de cereales, CONAB, INPE, JRC, FAO, FEWS NET, IKI, INTA, SIAP, UHMC, USDA FAS, and USDA NASS.

Rice in cropping systems – Modelling transitions between flooded and non-flooded soil environments

Water shortages in many rice-growing regions, combined with growing global imperatives to increase food production, are driving research into increased water use efficiency and modified agricultural practices in rice-based cropping systems. Well-tested cropping systems models that capture interactions between soil water and nutrient dynamics, crop growth, climate and management can assist in the evaluation of new agricultural practices. The APSIM model was designed to simulate diverse crop sequences, residue/tillage practices and specification of field management options. It was previously unable to simulate processes associated with the long-term flooded or saturated soil conditions encountered in rice-based systems, due to its heritage in dryland cropping applications. To address this shortcoming, the rice crop components of the ORYZA2000 rice model were incorporated and modifications were made to the APSIM soil water and nutrient modules to include descriptions of soil carbon and nitrogen dynamics under anaerobic conditions. We established a process fo
r simulating the two-way transition between anaerobic and aerobic soil conditions occurring in crop sequences of flooded rice and other nonflooded crops, pastures and fallows. These transitions are dynamically simulated and driven by modeled hydraulic variables (soil water and floodwater depth). Descriptions of floodwater biological and chemical processes were also added. Our assumptions included a simplified approach to modelling O2 transport processes in saturated soils. The improved APSIM model was tested against diverse, replicated experimental datasets for rice-based cropping systems, representing a spectrum of geographical locations (Australia, Indonesia and Philippines), soil types, management practices, crop species, varieties and sequences. The model performed equally well in simulating rice grain yield during multi-season crop sequences as the original validation testing reported for the stand-alone ORYZA2000 model simulating single crops. This suggests robustness in APSIM’s simulation of the rice-growing environment and provides evidence on the usefulness of our modifications and practicality of our assumptions. Aspects of particular strength were identified (crop rotations; response to applied fertilizers; the performance of bare fallows), together with areas for further development work (simulation of retained crop stubble during fallows, greenhouse gas emissions). APSIM is now suitable to investigate production responses of potential agronomic and management changes in rice-based cropping systems, particularly in response to future imperatives linked to resource availability, climate change, and food security. Further testing is required to evaluate the impact of our simplified assumptions on the model’s simulation of greenhouse gas emissions in rice-based cropping systems.

Teak agroforestry systems for livelihood enhancement, industrial timber production, and environmental rehabilitation

Teak is produced in industrial plantations in more than 43 countries. National and international demand for teak timber exceeds the sustainable yield from natural forests and plantations. High demand creates opportunities for enterprising farmers. Teak is now grown in smallholder’ agroforestry systems in many tropical countries. These systems enable farmers to diversify production, reduce farm risk, contribute to food security, and generate much-needed income. They also meet commercial needs for timber and improve environmental conditions. This paper reports the contributions of teak systems to smallholders livelihoods in Indonesia, where farmers have been producing teak for over 50 years. Indonesian farmers cultivate teak as one component in integrated multispecies agroforestry systems. Annual cropping is an important aspect of these systems, producing commodities for both household consumption and market sale. Besides supplying food for households, smallholder teak systems provide 40% of household income from agricultural and timber crops. Teak and other tree crops allow households to re-allocate labor to off-farm employment when those opportunities are lucrative. However, farmers suffer from limited resources, labor, and access to information, which constrain the productivity of their teak sys
tems. Specific recommendations are provided regarding how smallholders can adopt improved silvicultural and marketing management. Roles for government, support agencies, and industry that would provide benefits to all parties are outlined. Policy changes that would motivate smallholders to improve the management of their teak systems are identified. Conclusions and recommendations are applicable to smallholder teak systems across the tropics.

Farmer to farmer interpersonal communication in agroforestry innovation dissemination in Sulawesi, Indonesia.

During the past 35 years, research in agroforestry has evolved significantly. However in many countries the dissemination of agroforestry information and innovation is constrained due to a lack of extension agents knowledgeable of agroforestry issues. In countries like Indonesia, where smallholder livelihoods are dependent on agroforestry production systems, the dissemination of relevant agroforestry innovations is essential to reducing poverty and ensuring food security. Farmer-to-farmer communication is a possible alternative method of disseminating agroforestry innovations when there is a lack of extension agent in the agroforestry sector. To evaluate the potential of the farmer-to-farmer communication, a study was conducted in November 2012 and April 2013 to identify and understand village-level communication systems.