The potential role of coconut in improving the sustainability of agriculture on tropical peatland: A case study of 32 years’ practice in Pulau Burung District

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Catastrophic forest and land fires have turned a global spotlight on tropical peatlands in Indonesia. The consequent reformulation of Indonesian land-use policy has been complicated by the existence of two apparently opposing objectives, namely conservation and development. In many regions of the country, peatland agriculture is one of the pillars of development, but its sustainability is questioned.

This article focuses on a coconut plantation managed by local stakeholders on peatland in Pulau Burung District (Riau Province) where excellent productivity has been achieved, promoting Indonesia as the world’s largest supplier of coconut. Quantitative and qualitative approaches are employed to examine the sustainability of this agricultural system over a period of 32 years; in terms of water management, land management and socioeconomic development.

This article is published in Mires and Peat Volume 27 (2021)

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