Juni 12, 2014

Is Flexibility or Productivity the Key to Persistence of Rubber Agroforests in Jambi Province (Sumatra)?

Gregoire Vincent, Laxman Joshi & Susilawaty, “Is Flexibility or Productivity the Key to Persistence of Rubber Agroforests in Jambi Province (Sumatra)?”, Forests, Trees and Livelihoods, 20, 1 (2011): 51-67.
DOI: 10.1080/14728028.2011.9756697


RUBBER PRODUCTION and yield components (tree density, number of trees tapped per day, number of tapping days per year) were monitored in 35 plots of rubber agroforests in Jambi province (Sumatra) for one year. The results showed a great variability in yield components both between plots and over time. The overall average production of dry rubber per tree per tapping day was 17g, which is about half of the production per tree per tapping day that can be attained in well managed plantations of selected rubber clones. Productivity per ha and per year appeared to be further reduced by the low number of rubber trees per ha (c. 50% of the trees above 10 cm dbh are not rubber trees), the selective tapping of only a fraction of the population of rubber trees of tappable size and the low number of tapping days per year. Low average tapping frequency (110 days) was related to low prices prevailing during the study period. Tapping frequency appeared to be further influenced by a number of case specific factors including the degree of dependence of farmers on latex as a source of income, labor availability (for the plot owner) and presence or absence of other work opportunities (for the share-tapper).

As a result of this opportunistic exploitation, the actual annual production per unit area in rubber agroforests appears to be often below maximum potential production of the plot. It is argued that the high flexibility of this extensive rubber cultivation system compensates for its low productivity and largely determines its wide adoption. It is further suggested that the opportunistic exploitation of extensively managed rubber agroforests may fulfil an important social function as it appears to serve as a reservoir of paid labour.

Keywords: Hevea brasiliensis, smallholder, rubber tapping, yield components.[]


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