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Land suitability analysis of the most preferred tree species in production forest areas

By: Basir Achmad

Key Words: Community, Land-suitability analysis, Rubber tree plantation, Land characteristics

J. Bio. Env. Sci. 9(4), 219-231, October 2016.

Abstract

In supporting the People’s Plantations program of the Government of Indonesia, the species planted should be preferred by communities. In addition, the land characteristics where the species will be planted should match with growth requirements of the most preferred tree species. Based on the interview with the communities, the most preferred tree species was the rubber tree with some reasons: (1) the tree species provided cash income continuously for a long-term period (100%), (2) they were easy to sell (89%), (3) they were easy to plant and maintain (86%), and (4) the communities were familiar with the tree species (79%). But on the basis of land suitability analysis, the land system characteristics did not match with the growth requirements of the rubber tree species. The unsuitability of the land system unit characteristics to the rubber tree growth requirements were mostly caused by (1) temperature regime, (2) water availability, (3) rooting conditions, (4) nutrient availability, and (5) terrain. However, based on financial analysis, rubber tree species was viable to cultivate because with a community’s own labor system, the Internal Rate of Return was 47%, and with a hired labor system, the Internal Rate of Return was 29%. The two IRRs were greater than the social discount rate (12%). Therefore, the rubber tree species was suitable to plant for the People’s Plantations program. The land suitability analysis had successfully discovered and tried to solve the problems that hampered the rubber tree growth so that rubber tree plantations will be more productive and sustainable.

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