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Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes

English title Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes
Applicant Ghazoul Jaboury
Number 152019
Funding scheme r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)
Research institution Ecosystem Management Institute of Terrestrial Ecosystems ETH Zürich
Institution of higher education ETH Zurich - ETHZ
Main discipline Environmental Research
Start/End 01.03.2015 - 28.02.2018
Approved amount 1'594'782.00
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All Disciplines (4)

Discipline
Environmental Research
Hydrology, Limnology, Glaciology
Sociology
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences

Keywords (5)

Coupled Social and Environmental Models; Impact pathways; Oil Palm; Landscape; Participatory Modelling

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
OPAL erarbeitet alternative Szenarien der Erweiterung von Ölpalmenplantagen und bildet die Grundlage der Entscheidungsfindung für Strategien und Landnutzungsentwicklung in Indonesien, Kolumbien und Kamerun. Die Szenarien werden mit der lokalen Gesellschaft und Palmölunternehmern entwickelt unter Berücksichtigung der sozialen, ökonomischen und ökologischen Treiber. Die Ergebnisse werden gewertet bezüglich der Kompromisse zwischen Biodiversität, der Wasserhaushalt- und Kohlenstoffbindungs- Ökosystemdienstleistung sowie der Sicherung der lokalen Existenzgrundlage.
Lay summary

Die Erweiterung der Anbaufläche von Ölpalmen ist einer der Hauptgründe der Landnutzungsänderung und des Verlusts der Wälder in den Tropen. Dieser Ausbau bietet erhebliche monetäre Gewinne für die Erzeugerländer, Unternehmer und Kleinbauern, birgt jedoch negative Auswirkungen innerhalb und außerhalb der Landschaften, in denen Ölpalmen angebaut werden. Interessensgruppen und Entscheidungsträger müssen "grüne" Entwicklungspfade entwickeln und anwenden um die Balance zwischen Entwicklungs- und Naturschutzziele in einem Umfeld mit tiefgreifenden Unsicherheiten zu gewährleisten. Ein besseres Verständnis der sozioökonomischen und ökologischen Prozesse, die die Umwelt beeinflussen, sowie deren Rückkoppelung mit der Gesellschaft ist wegweisend für eine nachhaltige und integrale Strategie.

Mit unserer Forschung wollen wir in Zusammenarbeit mit Interessensgruppen und Akteuren das Management der Anbaugebiete von  Ölpalmen in Asien, Afrika und Lateinamerika mit plausiblen Entwicklungsszenarien auf verschiedenen Skalen verbessern. Diese Szenarien basieren auf  einem ganzheitlichen Ansatz, der soziale, wirtschaftliche und ökologische Treiber, die den Ölpalmenanbau beeinflussen, kombiniert. Die Ergebnisse der verschiedenen Szenarien werden bezüglich der Kompromisse zwischen der Biodiversität, der Wasserhaushalts- und Kohlenstoffbindungs-Ökosystemdienstleistung sowie der Sicherung der lokalen Existenzgrundlage gewertet.

Unser Konsortium wird von der ETH Zürich geleitet und umfasst internationale Institutionen und lokale Partner in Indonesien, Kamerun und Kolumbien. Darunter sind Vertreter der Palmölfirmen und der lokalen Bevölkerung aller drei Länder. Unser Wissen und der interdisziplinäre Charakter unseres Konsortiums ermöglicht dieses langfristige vergleichende Projekt, das den regionalen Kontext mitberücksichtigt. Unsere Resultate werden relevant sein für die Produzenten und politischen Entscheidungsträger der Produktionsländer sowie für die Konsumenten der Schweiz und weltweit.
Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.10.2014

Lay Summary (English)

Lead
OPAL seeks to explore alternative scenarios for oil palm expansion to inform policy and land use development in Indonesia, Colombia and Cameroon. These scenarios, developed with local communities and oil palm companies, will merge the social, economic, and ecological drivers of oil palm development. We will assess the outcomes of different scenarios with respect to trade-offs among biodiversity, hydrological and carbon sequestration ecosystem services, and local livelihoods.
Lay summary

The expansion of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is one of the main drivers of land use change and deforestation in the tropics. This expansion provides significant economic earnings for producer countries, corporations and smallholders, but at the cost of negative externalities within and beyond the landscapes in which oil palm is grown. Stakeholders and decision makers need to devise and adopt ‘green’ development trajectories that balance development and conservation goals in an environment with pervasive uncertainties. A better understanding of the socio-economic and ecological processes that shape environmental outcomes, and of the feedbacks that such outcomes impose on society, will help chart a path towards more sustainable and inclusive futures.

We propose to improve the management of oil palm landscapes across tropical Asia, Africa and Latin America by engaging stakeholders and agents of change with plausible oil palm development scenarios at multiple scales. These scenarios will be developed through an integrated platform that merges the social, economic, and ecological drivers that shape oil palm development. Using such a platform we will assess the outcomes of different scenarios with respect to trade-offs among biodiversity, hydrological and carbon sequestration ecosystem services, and local livelihoods.

Our consortium is led by ETH Zurich and includes international institutions (CIFOR, ICRAF, WWF etc.) and many local partners in Indonesia, Cameroon and Colombia, including representatives of oil palm companies and community interests in all three countries. We draw on the expertise and interdisciplinary nature of our consortium to undertake a long-term comparative project that spans regional contexts. Our outputs will be relevant to producers and policy makers in the target producer countries, and to consumers in Switzerland and Europe more generally.

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 10.10.2014

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Expansion of oil palm plantation and changes in social, economic and rural ecology: A case study in Kutai Kartanegara
Hadi Dharmawan Arya, Mardiyaningsih Dyah Ita, Bayu Eka Yulian (2016), Expansion of oil palm plantation and changes in social, economic and rural ecology: A case study in Kutai Kartanegara, Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, Indonesia.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Laboratory of Ecological Systems (ECOS), EPFL and WSL Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Cenipalma Colombia (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
WWF Central Africa Regional Programme Office Cameroon (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) Indonesia (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
Forest Management and Development (ForDev) - ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Exchange of personnel
CIFOR, Central Africa Regional Office Cameroon (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Hydrology and Water Resources Management (IfU Hydrology) - ETH Zurich Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Center for Agriculture and Rural Development Studies (CARDS), Bogor Agricultural University (IPB) Indonesia (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
NES Naturaleza Colombia (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Union des Exploitant de Palmier a Huile du Cameroun (UNEXPALM) Cameroon (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
Luc Hoffmann Institute, WWF Switzerland Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration
University of Oxford Great Britain and Northern Ireland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
University of Javariana Colombia (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Exchange of personnel
Fedepalma Colombia (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
WWF Cameroon Cameroon (Africa)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
WWF Colombia Colombia (South America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
WWF Indonesia Indonesia (Asia)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Industry/business/other use-inspired collaboration

Scientific events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Title of article or contribution Date Place Persons involved
European Geoscience annual meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference Impact of savanna conversion to oil palm plantations on C stocks dynamics and soil fertility 28.04.2017 Vienna, Austria Buttler Alexandre; Quezada Rivera Juan Carlos;
European Geoscience annual meeting 2017 Talk given at a conference Soil C dynamics under intensive oil palm plantations in poor tropical soils 24.04.2017 Vienna, Austria Quezada Rivera Juan Carlos; Buttler Alexandre;
WSL Conference Talk given at a conference Impacts of oil palm cultivation on carbon cycle and soil fertility: seeking for sustainable alternatives 09.12.2016 Birmensdorf, Switzerland Buttler Alexandre;
MSc Defence Marie Gaelle Ngo Njiki Individual talk Agrarian Diagnosis of Ngwei: Contribution of Palm Oil in Household Economy 05.12.2016 Dschang, Cameroon Nzene Halleson Durrel; Miaro Ludovic; Eba'a Atyi Richard;
FLARE Conference 2016 Talk given at a conference Presentation of the oil palm supply chain game (CoPalCam) 05.12.2016 Edinburgh, Great Britain and Northern Ireland Ghazoul Jaboury;
MSc Defence Théo Martin Individual talk Smallholdings or agro-industries: which model for oil palm development in Cameroon? 14.10.2016 Montpellier, France Nzene Halleson Durrel;
Scennet 2016 Talk given at a conference CoPalCam : Exploring the complexities of the Palm Oil Supply Chain in Cameroon 24.08.2016 Montpellier, France Miaro Ludovic; Giger Dray Anne; Nzene Halleson Durrel;
ATBC 2016 Talk given at a conference Reconciling Conservation and Development: The case of oil palm in Cameroon, by Emmanuel Ngom 23.06.2016 Montpellier, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
ATBC 2016 Talk given at a conference Conceptualising forest degradation 23.06.2016 Montpellier, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
Association of Tropical Biology and Conservation Individual talk Conceptualising forest degradation 23.06.2016 Montpellier, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
ATBC 2016 Talk given at a conference Europe’s role in driving the future of tropical forested landscapes. Symposium organized by J.Ghazoul and C.Garcia 23.06.2016 Montpellier, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
Meeting OPAL Colombian Team Individual talk Carbon cycle perturbation after rainforest conversion to plantations in Indonesia : Impact on soil organic carbon and fertility 17.06.2016 Bucaramanga-Santander, Colombia Buttler Alexandre;
European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2016 Talk given at a conference Effects of agricultural intensification in the tropics on soil carbon losses and soil fertility 19.04.2016 Vienna, Austria Buttler Alexandre;
International Symposium: Ecological and socioeconomic functions of tropical lowland rainforest transformation systems (Sumatra, Indonesia) Talk given at a conference The Insecurity of Ecosystem Services 23.03.2015 Goettingen, Germany, Switzerland Ghazoul Jaboury;
r4d forum Talk given at a conference Presentation of the OPAL project 19.03.2015 Filzbach, Switzerland Ghazoul Jaboury;
r4d forum Individual talk (Informal) exchange of experience and discussion with SNF on technicalities 18.03.2015 Filzbach, Switzerland Dharmawan Arya Hadi;
Consultancy at The Forest Trust Individual talk advice and recommandations on high carbon stock forest evaluations in oil plam landscapes 08.03.2015 Zurich, Switzerland Ghazoul Jaboury;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
OPAL Colombia game. 1st crash test 10.05.2017 Bogota, Colombia

Knowledge transfer events

Active participation

Title Type of contribution Date Place Persons involved
Round table: Vers une huile de palme (plus) durable ou comment atteindre l’objectif Zéro Déforestation d’ici à 2020 ? Paris, France Workshop 20.04.2017 Paris, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
Palm Oil and its importance: Food, health and Sustainability. Symposium organized by the Malaysian Embassy. Zurich, Switzerland Talk 01.02.2017 Zurich, Switzerland Giger Dray Anne;
Presentation by Bayu Eka Yulian and Nur Hasanah "Palm Oil Development: The Perceptions and Impacts to The Land Use Change in Indonesia" during the lecture “Tropical Forests, Agroforestry and Complex Socio-Ecological Systems" Talk 16.11.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Giger Dray Anne; Ghazoul Jaboury;
Ecosystem Services Workshop, Nur Hasanah, ETH Zurich Workshop 08.11.2016 Zurich, Switzerland Ghazoul Jaboury;
Mixed Method Research, r4d Skills, Bern, Switzerland Workshop 28.10.2016 Bern, Switzerland Quezada Rivera Juan Carlos; Giger Dray Anne; Garcia Ulloa John;
ATBC's Montpellier Declaration on sustainable oil palm, drafted by members of the OPAL project Talk 19.06.2016 Montpellier, France Ghazoul Jaboury;
Integrating Ecosystem Services into Development Planning, Training, Nur Hasanah Workshop 30.05.2016 Ansan-Si, Korean Republic (South Korea) Ghazoul Jaboury;
Local Perceptions on ecosystem services and oil palm development , qualitative research by Nur Hasanah, East Kalimantan, Indonesia Workshop 21.05.2016 East Kalimantan, Indonesia Ghazoul Jaboury;
Palm oil Congress, Colombia Talk 01.05.2016 Bucaramanga-Santander, Colombia Rueda Alejandra;


Self-organised

Title Date Place
Oil Palm game played 5 times with young teenagers at secondary schools of Zurich 09.05.2017 Zurich area, Switzerland
CoPalcam game session with students of the French Lycée of Zurich (LFZ), ETH Zurich 15.03.2017 Zurich, Switzerland
Site visit to PT REA KALTIM Plantation at Kembang Janggut Sub District and PT Sawit Kaltim Lestari at Muara Kaman Sub District to get the information about the Sustainability Standards in Oil Palm Plantation (RSPO, ISPO). For PhD Rizka Amalia 10.02.2017 East Kalimantan, Indonesia
OPAL game with stakeholders of the oil palm supply chain in Switzerland, ETH Zurich 09.12.2016 Zurich, Switzerland
Workshop with Palm Oil Union (Fedepalma) - PARDI Version 1, Bogotá, Colombia 21.11.2016 Bogotá, Colombia
OPAL Site visit in East Kalimantan, Indonesia 13.09.2016 East Kalimantan, Indonesia
ComMod workshop, Bogor, Indonesia 05.09.2016 Bogor, Indonesia
Game session during WWF Workshop, Buéa, Cameroon 30.05.2016 Buea, Cameroon
Companion Modelling demontstration workshop, Utrecht, Netherlands 15.04.2016 Utrecht, Netherlands
Game session Yaoundé, Cameroon 04.04.2016 Yaoundé, Cameroon
Workshop with stakeholders, Bogotá, Colombia 02.03.2016 Bogotá, Colombia
Preliminary Fieldwork Research, Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia 05.08.2015 Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia, Indonesia
Supporting sustainable palm oil in East Kalimantan, Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia 09.07.2015 Kutai Kartanegara, Indonesia
Crash-testing session of the OPAL-Cameroon RPG, ETH Zurich 08.06.2015 ETH Zurich, Switzerland
Crash-testing session of the OPAL- Cameroon Role playing game (RPG), Montpellier 08.06.2015 Montpellier, France
Spring School on Companion Modelling, Wislikofen, Switzerland 17.05.2015 Wislikofen, Switzerland, Switzerland

Communication with the public

Communication Title Media Place Year
Media relations: print media, online media Schmiermittel der Welt NZZ am Sonntag German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Media relations: print media, online media So will die ETH Lebensmittelkonzerne mit Greenpeace und WWF versöhnen – aber kann das gelingen? Das Lamm- Nachhaltigkeitsmagazin German-speaking Switzerland 2017
Other activities Communication strategy, developed by and for OPAL Colombia International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Expansion of oil palm plantations and changes in social, economic and rural ecology International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Learning begins when the game is over: using games to embrace complexity in natural resources manag. Gaia International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Oil Palm Sector In Colombia. Second Report International 2016
Print (books, brochures, leaflets) OPAL Infographic. Communication strategy in Colombia International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Reporte de Estado actual Llanos Orientales International 2016
Other activities Summary: PARDI Process Report – Orinoquía Region International 2016
Media relations: print media, online media Transdisciplinarité, un jeu d'enfant? Comprendre les moteurs du chang. en milieu forestier tropical Hotspot magazine Western Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland 2016
Talks/events/exhibitions Challenges and opportunities of Oil Palm cultivation in the tropics, Game with French intern. school German-speaking Switzerland International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Declining palm oil prices: Good news and bad news for smallholders Mongabay International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) Of pastures and oil palm, ETH Zukunftsblog ETH Zukunftsblog Rhaeto-Romanic Switzerland International German-speaking Switzerland Italian-speaking Switzerland Western Switzerland 2015
Talks/events/exhibitions Oil Palm beyond controversies, Panel discussion, ETH Zurich German-speaking Switzerland 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) OPAL Facebook Facebook International 2015
New media (web, blogs, podcasts, news feeds etc.) OPAL website - Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes Website International 2015
Media relations: radio, television Playing for sustainability, Radio SRF 2 Radio SRF 2 German-speaking Switzerland 2015
Media relations: print media, online media Situational Analysis of the oil palm sector in Colombia International 2015

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
171682 PSC Creative Camps for Youth 01.04.2017 Agora
177587 Oil Palm Adaptive Landscapes 01.03.2018 r4d (Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development)

Abstract

The expansion of oil palm (Elaeis guineensis) is one of the main drivers of land use change and deforestation in the tropics. This expansion provides significant economic earnings for producer countries, corporations and smallholders, but at the cost of negative externalities within and beyond the landscapes in which oil palm is grown. Stakeholders and decision makers need to devise and adopt ‘green’ development trajectories that balance better development and conservation goals in an environment with pervasive uncertainties. A better understanding of socio-economic and ecological processes that shape environmental outcomes and the feedbacks that such outcomes impose on society will help chart a path towards more sustainable and inclusive futures.We propose that (1) integrated models of future landscapes and the delivery of ecosystem services over a decadal time span, (2) informed by multiple stakeholder perspectives and developed through participatory modeling approaches and (3) embedded in the decision making processes at different levels, encompassing interrelated district, national and international scales, can improve the resilience of a socio-ecological system (SES) and help local stakeholders navigate and explore possible alternative futures and make more informed decisions. We draw on the expertise and interdisciplinary nature of our consortium, and our collective presence in several countries, to undertake a long-term comparative project that spans regional contexts, in Colombia, Cameroon and Indonesia. The novelty of this proposal lies in designing an integrative simulation platform based on extensive empirical data that effectively couples social and ecological dynamics. This platform can facilitate the establishment of a common worldview among stakeholders and will serve as the basis for better decision making, in which the trade-offs involving ecosystem services, alternative development pathways, and management options are carefully considered in natural landscapes facing oil palm expansion.
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