Food and income from farmers' access to the forest zone in Indonesia: is land sparing feasible?
Throughout the world, a growing population increases the demand for food, fiber, feed and energy causing accelerated forest conversion to agricultural land. The reduction of forest cover has raised concerns over its impact on the degradation of ecosystems services. Land sparing suggests that intensifying area outside forest allows forest conservation for ecosystem services provision. However, in situation where land is scarce or financial capital for agricultural intensification is lacking, enforced land sparing can cause conflict. Weak governance often leads to conversion of land designated as production or conservation forest into agricultural use. A modified form of land sparing, incorporating a sharing concept allows (restricted) co-use of forest margin by farmers to reduce conflict and to rehabilitate conservation areas. This study explored the impact of access to'conservation zone' on forest food production, farmers' income and equity. The study draws on two cases in Indonesia: Upper Konto and Sesaot where Community Based Forestry Management (CBFM) was implemented in villages around conservation forest. CBFM provides farmers with access to cultivate land on designated forest areas on condition that in addition to crop farmers also plant trees to maintain the hydrological functions of the area. The two sites represent similar situation where access to market has led farmers to cultivate market-oriented products such as vegetables and fruits but with different degree of intensification. The specific questions were: (i) are CBFM areas yielding as much food and income per ha as private land?, (ii) is CBFM effectively targeting landless households and (iii) does CBFM effectively increase income and reduce inequity?
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