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Trade-offs between multifunctionality and profit in tropical smallholder landscapes

Abstract
Land-use transitions can enhance the livelihoods of smallholder farmers but potential economic-ecological trade-offs remain poorly understood. Here, we present an interdisciplinary study of the environmental, social and economic consequences of land-use transitions in a tropical smallholder landscape on Sumatra, Indonesia. We find widespread biodiversity-profit trade-offs resulting from land-use transitions from forest and agroforestry systems to rubber and oil palm monocultures, for 26,894 aboveground and belowground species and whole-ecosystem multidiversity. Despite variation between ecosystem functions, profit gains come at the expense of ecosystem multifunctionality, indicating far-reaching ecosystem deterioration. We identify landscape compositions that can mitigate trade-offs under optimal land-use allocation but also show that intensive monocultures always lead to higher profits. These findings suggest that, to reduce losses in biodiversity and ecosystem functioning, changes in economic incentive structures through well-designed policies are urgently needed.
Type
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Series
Citation
Grass, I., Kubitza, C., Krishna, V. V., Corre, M. D., Musshoff, O., Puetz, P., … Wollni, M. (2020). Trade-offs between multifunctionality and profit in tropical smallholder landscapes. Nature Communications, 11(1). https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-020-15013-5
Date
2020
Publisher
Nature Publishing Group
Degree
Supervisors
Rights
This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.