Replanting Processes and Effects on Smallholder Livelihoods

Background
Many oil palm plantations within the research region face the end of their life cycles. Com-prehensive replanting (i.e. rejuvenation) processes will be necessarily implemented to ensure a continuous production and income. These replanting processes, however, will lead to eco-nomic and social challenges for the smallholders. Simultaneously, they offer opportunities for a more sustainable cultivation of plantation crops by the local smallholders. These options lead to the question, if and how the rejuvenation processes can be used to establish more sustainable crop production systems (e.g. agroforestry schemes).
Objectives
Heinrich Petri will investigate how impeding oil palm and rubber replanting processes influ-ence the social resilience of smallholder livelihoods, and how such processes offer opportuni-ties for more sustainable land use, e.g. agroforestry schemes. Knowledge is needed on how replanting dynamics of the plantation crops, depending on financial capital and knowledge transfer, influence smallholder’s perspectives and strategies of rejuvenation. An investigation on the contribution of these replanting processes to social and spatial differentiation, and on potentials for a transition from oil palm monoculture to agroforestry schemes will be conduct-ed. Furthermore, recently established agroforestry planting projects, like in the Harapan re-gion or the Berbak National Park will be studied. One of these ”real-life laboratories” will be accompanied, monitored and analysed in order to identify potentials and challenges of agro-forestry management systems.
Hypotheses
• Despite funding schemes by companies and governmental institutions the replanting process will lead to reallocation of land
• Replanting processes will increase social stratification (i.e. access to funding schemes)
• The practical guidance and the facilitation of tree planting in REKI or B11 Oil Palm Bi-odiversity Enrichment Experiment (EFForTS-BEE) strengthens smallholders’ ac-ceptance of more sustainable forms of cultivation
Concepts and Methods
Numerous individual, semi-structured interviews will be conducted, taking socioeconomic characteristics into account. Six villages, with 10-15 households each, will be considered. Fur-ther, semi-structured interviews will be conducted with key informants from state agencies, private companies and NGO’s at local, regional and national level to understand competences and relationships among the involved actors at different scales. The generated interviews will be recorded, transcribed, and extracted by content analysis. For the “real-life laboratories”, three rounds of monitoring from 2020 to 2020 will be carried out.