Indonesia’s rubber agroforests harbour nearly as much biodiversity as primary forests. Yet they, too, are under threat. Can ‘green’ rubber help save them?
Studies of rubber agroforests in Jambi province in Indonesia have found that their physiognomy and functioning are close to those of natural forests. Although most of the complex rubber agroforests have disappeared in Malaysia and Thailand, around 2 million hectare are still thriving in Indonesia. However, if left neglected they will soon be converted to agriculture and industrial plantations. And since little primary forest is left in the country, maintaining these forests is the only option to support high forest diversity.