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; 110(1).
Source: OAI


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.

Download full-text


Available from: Marc Cotter
  • Source
    • "Agricultural activities often associate with land clearing and intensive application of chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers which can lead to changes in soil microbial community and biodiversity loss [8]. Like all the other plantations such as rubber, oil palm plantation has been thought to have impacts on the environment and ecosystem [9]. Clearance of tropical forests is estimated at between 16.4 and 20.4 x 10 6 hectares per year [5]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Conversion of secondary forest to oil palm plantations will in one way or another have an impact on the environment. Soil microbes play an important role in conserving soil productivity and are sensitive to the changes in soil. Therefore, microbial biodiversity can be used as an indicator for soil quality. Hence, study to detect changes in soil microbial community in Belaga, Sarawak is required to investigate the diversity of the soil bacteria prior to and at various stages of the planting activities. Soil taken from the site was analyzed to identify the genus and species of microbes using molecular techniques and sequencing. Biodiversity indices were calculated to detect the changes in the soil. After two years of study, Shannon-Weaver biodiversity index showed that the index reduced from before clean cleared to during clean cleared and the early stages of planting, from 3.278 to 2.996 and 1.648, respectively. However, biodiversity index increased when the oil palm age increased to two and a half and three years old, 3.443 and 3.394, respectively, which almost similar to that of biodiversity strips. This result was also shown using the Simpson Index, where the index value of area with oil palm was practically similar to the biodiversity strips. Prevalence of the prokaryotic taxonomy, genus, species and strains detected from the sites showed that after two years of planting, the number of prokaryotic taxonomy, genus, species and strains in the oil palm planted area was comparable to the biodiversity strips. The biodiversity of culturable prokaryotes in Belaga, Sarawak showed that in area cultivated with oil palm, the microbial biodiversity increased with the increased on palm age to 3 years.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Jul 2012
  • Source
    • "In Hainan Island, the plantations were mainly exotic species (such as eucalyptus, rubber, oil palm and some of the fruit crops) and were cultivated after the forest was cleared. The conversion of natural forests into crop plantations, not only cause severe loss of local biodiversity, but also release considerable amounts of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere (Li et al., 2007; Cotter et al., 2009). In this study, we seperated plantations from the natural forest, and we do think the results were more appropriate for the evaluation of the ecosystem. "

    Full-text · Chapter · Mar 2012
  • [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: We used solid-state carbon-13 nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) to compare chemical compositions of carbon in plant litter, forest floor and soil in a native seasonal rain forest (SR) with those in a rubber plantation (RP) in Xishuangbanna, southwest China. We also applied a sequential fumigation–incubation (SFI) procedure to characterize the chemical compositional change of soil organic carbon (SOC) during soil degradation. It was found that RP had 1.5–1.7 times greater in alkyl C0–45ppm proportions and smaller O-alkyls C45−110 fractions in litter and forest floor materials than SR. Degradation of labile organic carbon (LOC) in fresh litter was primarily limited to O-alkyl C and O2-alkyl C in both forests, suggesting litters of RP were less decomposable than that of SR. SOC in RP was 2.3 percent higher in aromatics C110–160ppm proportions and 0.03 percent in aromaticity value than those in SR. With the absence of new C input and fauna, degradation of soil LOC companied with loss of carbonyls C160−220ppm in RP, and alkyl C and aromatics C110–160ppm in SR. Our data indicated that rubber planting induced carbon loss and extensive humification in the soil. Sources of the decomposed soil LOC can compose of both simple and complex chemical compounds.
    No preview · Article · Mar 2013 · European Journal of Soil Biology
Show more