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Enhancing the ecological value of oil palm agriculture through set-asides

Bicknell, Jake E., O’Hanley, Jesse R., Armsworth, Paul R., Slade, Eleanor M., Deere, Nicolas J., Mitchell, Simon L., Hemprich-Bennett, David, Kemp, Victoria, Rossiter, Stephen J., Lewis, Owen T., and others. (2023) Enhancing the ecological value of oil palm agriculture through set-asides. Nature Sustainability, 6 (5). pp. 513-525. ISSN 2398-9629. (doi:10.1038/s41893-022-01049-6) (KAR id:98270)

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Abstract

Agricultural expansion is the primary driver of ecological degradation across the tropics. Set-asides - uncultivated parts of agricultural landscapes, often on steep slopes and alongside rivers - may alleviate environmental impacts but can reduce cultivation area. Here, we model an approach to configuring set-asides aimed at optimizing ecological outcomes (biodiversity, above-ground carbon storage and nutrient cycling) without reducing net cultivation area. We compare set-asides in an oil palm landscape where all plantations adopt the same configuration (‘uniform’ approach) with a scenario where there can be variation in configuration between plantations (‘variable’ approach). We find that all set-aside configurations support substantial ecological values, but the best strategies involve set-asides (particularly alongside rivers) that are spatially-targeted and variable between plantations. This ‘variable’ approach can increase ecological outcomes two-fold, without reducing net cultivation area, in contrast to the ‘uniform’ approach. Our findings underscore the potential importance of well-planned set-asides for enhancing agricultural sustainability.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1038/s41893-022-01049-6
Projects: LOMBOK - HMTF
Additional information: For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence (where permitted by UKRI, an Open Government Licence or CC BY ND public copyright licence may be used instead) to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising
Subjects: H Social Sciences
Divisions: Divisions > Kent Business School - Division > Department of Analytics, Operations and Systems
Divisions > Division of Human and Social Sciences > School of Anthropology and Conservation > DICE (Durrell Institute of Conservation and Ecology)
Funders: Natural Environment Research Council (https://ror.org/02b5d8509)
Depositing User: Jake Bicknell
Date Deposited: 23 Nov 2022 12:46 UTC
Last Modified: 06 Dec 2023 10:51 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/98270 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)

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