Eco-Certification as an incentive to conserve biodiversity in rubber smallholder agroforestry systems: A preliminary study
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Rubber agroforests managed by smallholders, a low intensity cultivation system with a forest like structure, cover more than 1 million ha in Indonesia and contribute significantly to the conservation of forest species. In the face of the rapid deforestation that is taking place in Indonesia, their importance for conservation is of fundamental importance. Rubber agroforests offer many economic advantages to smallholders, such as low development costs and minimal risks. However, they offer a smaller return on land and labor than alternative land uses, such as the monoculture of high-yielding hevea clones, oil palm, and, in areas close to urban markets, intensive food crop production. In the absence of specific incentives, there are no reasons why smallholders should forego the benefits of more profitable land uses for the sake of biodiversity conservation. This means that the conservation community must be ready to reward the services rendered by smallholders willing to conserve their agroforests instead of converting them to higher-productivity land uses.