Juli 13, 2014

Land Reserves in Southern Sumatra/Indonesia and Their Potentialities for Agricultural Utilization


IN CONTRAST to overpopulated Java the neighbouring island of Sumatra still provides huge unused land reserves. However, by far not all of these reserves can be regarded as real agricultural potentials, e.g. for resettlement projects. Especially the poor soils often prove an agricultural handicap. Besides soil fertility the existing vegetation has to be conidered. Thus, for example, the so called “alang alang grass savannas” in general show better potentialities than forest areas, while most of the swamps prove rather unsuitable for agricultural development.

With regard to the already existing landuse types the cultivation of perennial bush- and tree crops, for instance rubber, seems to be best suited for further expansions. An expansion of annual food crops would be feasible too, however only be applying heavy capital inputs; here wet rice cultivation would be more appropiate than the permanent cultivation of annual upland crops like cassava, maize, etc. The traditional shifting cultivation does not serve as an alternative any longer. Animal breeding will have its difficulties, with the exception of certain highland areas.

Taking into account all ecological, social, and economic reservations it is concluded that, in spite of considerable restrictions, a good part of the land reserves in southern Sumatra could still be opened and used successfully for agricultural purposes.[]


Ulrich Scholz, “Land Reserves in Southern Sumatra/Indonesia and Their Potentialities for Agricultural Utilization”, GeoJournal, 4,1, (1980): 19-30.
DOI: 10.1007/BF00586752

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