RURAL LIVELIHOODS AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN OIL PALM LANDSCAPES IN RIAU, SUMATRA, INDONESIA

Author: Ando Aulia

  • Thesis download: available for open access on 22 Aug 2020.

Aulia, Ando, 2017 RURAL LIVELIHOODS AND ECOSYSTEM SERVICES IN OIL PALM LANDSCAPES IN RIAU, SUMATRA, INDONESIA, Flinders University, School of the Environment

This electronic version is made publicly available by Flinders University in accordance with its open access policy for student theses. Copyright in this thesis remains with the author. This thesis may incorporate third party material which has been used by the author pursuant to Fair Dealing exceptions. If you are the owner of any included third party copyright material and/or you believe that any material has been made available without permission of the copyright owner please contact copyright@flinders.edu.au with the details.

Abstract

The overall aim of this research is to investigate the nexus between socio-economic and ecological sustainability of the people living in the oil palm-dominated landscapes in Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia. The rural livelihood patterns of the households living in the oil palm areas are examined. Furthermore, the study characterises the ecosystem services provided in oil palm landscapes, and estimates their total economic value. Finally, the research analyses the impact oil palm production has on rural livelihoods and ecosystem services in oil palm landscapes. Riau Province in Sumatra was selected for the research as it is the province with the largest share of the oil palm estate in Indonesia. The participants in the study were divided into two groups: households and industry, government and conservation stakeholders. The combination of the frameworks of sustainable livelihoods and ecosystem services provided an integrated research framework. Primary data were collected using a household survey and interviews. Seventy-three households were involved along a topographic gradient that extended from the foothills of the Barisan Mountain Range to the peat swamps near the Malacca Strait. It was stratified into four landscapes: foothills, plains, lower foothills and peat swamps. One village was sampled in each landscape. Secondary data were obtained from reports from provincial government, government ministries, NGOs and the Indonesian Central Statistics Agency (BPS). Household survey data were analysed using descriptive analysis and inferential statistics. Models that predict household incomes were developed using multiple linear regression. The study revealed new information in relation to socio-economic and ecological aspects of rural livelihoods and ecosystem services in the context of oil palm-dominated landscapes. It has provided evidence related to livelihoods patterns and diversification of income for households in the oil palm-dominated landscapes. It showed that oil palm has improved the livelihoods of the people in rural areas. It has helped them to escape poverty, enabled them to accumulate capital which they have been able to reinvest in oil palm, or other on-farm and off-farm activities. Thirteen main ecosystem services were identified in the oil palm landscapes: nine marketed and four non-marketed. Using direct market valuation, the total economic value of ecosystem services associated with oil palm landscapes was estimated to be US$ 6,520 ha/year (range = US$2,970 – US$7,729 ha/year). Approximately a third - 33.6% (range = 23.8 – 52.1%) - was generated by non-marketed ecosystem services. In total oil palm landscapes in Riau Province have an economic value that exceeds US$ 15 billion annually. The study will contribute to the theory and practice of using sustainable livelihood and ecosystem services frameworks to investigate the links between ecosystem service characteristics and their benefits to the livelihoods of people in the oil palm landscapes. Integrating these frameworks allowed the significance of the benefits and values provided in oil palm landscapes to be illuminated clearly. The framework used could be useful for future research related to other social and economic dimensions in natural resources management.

Keywords: Rural livelihoods, Ecosystem services, oil palm, Riau, Sumatra, Indonesia
Subject: Environmental Science thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2017
School: School of the Environment
Supervisor: Prof. Andrew Millington