Scientific Framework

EFForTS project aims at providing science-based knowledge on how to protect and enhance the ecological functions of tropical forests and agricultural transformation systems at a landscape scale, while improving human welfare. Further, the program aims at providing baseline information on how to integrate agricultural land use and conservation issues.

The research is implemented in one of the largest regions of tropical lowland rainforest in Southeast Asia, namely Jambi Province in Sumatra, Indonesia (see Study sites and experimental design). The most important transformation systems in Jambi include rubber and oil palm plantations. Within Jambi, two landscapes and 32 core sites - including transformation systems and forest reference sites - are selected for detailed analyses. EFForTS analyzes and compare a broad range of issues, including above and below ground biodiversity, soil fertility, water, nutrient and greenhouse gas fluxes, as well as economic, social, cultural and political aspects related to rainforest transformation. A particular focus is laid on identifying synergies and trade-offs among and between the various ecological and socioeconomic functions, which is an important precondition for designing and implementing more sustainable systems (including biosphere reserves).

Phase 1 of EFForTS focused on Differences in ecological and socioeconomic functions of land-use changes due to rainforest transformation into rubber and oil palm plantations in Indonesia. In Phase 2, we focused on Heterogeneity as a new umbrella theme.
Phase 3 extends the investigation of heterogeneity in space and time by focusing on the theme From heterogeneity towards sustainable landscapes. We will assess
(1) the heterogeneity at the landscape level (Landscape Assessment) with the establishment of 100 new plots distributed widely in space,
(2) the heterogeneity due to enrichment planting in oil palm plantations (EFForTS-BEE), and
(3) the heterogeneity in management of oil palm plantations (EFForTS-OPMX). Extended Summary

The CRC is organized in close cooperation between the University of Göttingen and the University of Jambi (UNJA), IPB University, Tadulako University (UNTAD) and the Indonesian Institute of Science (LIPI).