Article

How Do “Renewable Products” Impact Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – The Example of Natural Rubber in China

Journal of Agriculture and Rural Development in the Tropics and Subtropics (JARTS); Vol 110, No 1 (2009); 10-23 01/2009;
Source: OAI

ABSTRACT This paper aims to present the implications brought by the expansion of “renewable products” plantation systems in the tropics with cultivation of rubber (Hevea brasiliensis) as a main focus. Throughout South East Asia, natural forest is being replaced by rubber or oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) plantations, with severe consequences for the local flora and fauna. Main aspects of this review are: i) The provision of an overview over renewable resources in general and rubber in particular, with eco-physiological and agronomical information concerning rubber cultivation. ii) The effect of rubber plantations on biodiversity and species composition under different rubber farming approaches. In addition we debate the possible influences of such large scale land cover transformations on ecosystem services. iii) The conversion of natural forests into rubber plantations releases considerable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. We estimated these values for different land cover types in southern China and assessed the carbon sequestration potential of local rubber plantations.

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    03/2012: pages 297-304; , ISBN: 978-953-51-0255-7
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    ABSTRACT: Carbon (C) conservation and sequestration in many developing countries needs to be accompanied by socio-economic improvements. Tree crop plantations can be a potential path for coupling climate change mitigation and economic development by providing C sequestration and supplying wood and non-wood products to meet domestic and international market requirements at the same time. Financial compensation for such plantations could potentially be covered by the Clean Development Mechanism under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC) Kyoto Protocol, but its suitability has also been suggested for integration into REDD + (reducing emissions from deforestation, forest degradation and enhancement of forest C stocks) currently being negotiated under the United Nations FCCC. We assess the aboveground C sequestration potential of four major plantation crops – cocoa (Theobroma cacao), oil palm (Elaeis guineensis), rubber (Hevea brasiliensis), and orange (Citrus sinesis) – cultivated in the tropics. Measurements were conducted in Ghana and allometric equations were applied to estimate biomass. The largest C potential was found in the rubber plantations (214 tC/ha). Cocoa (65 tC/ha) and orange (76 tC/ha) plantations have a much lower C content, and oil palm (45 tC/ha) has the lowest C potential, assuming that the yield is not used as biofuel. There is considerable C sequestration potential in plantations if they are established on land with modest C content such as degraded forest or agricultural land, and not on land with old-growth forest. We also show that simple C assessment methods can give reliable results, which makes it easier for developing countries to partake in REDD + or other payment schemes.
    Mitigation and Adaptation Strategies for Global Change · 1.86 Impact Factor

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