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Linking the transformation of production structures to a multidimensional sustainability assessment grid of smallholder's oil palm plantations

Abstract : Oil palm cultivation has become emblematic of the trade-off between development and conservation that growers have to face in the context of global changes. This challenge between economic growth and environmental issues and the growing public debate regarding palm oil development and use require improving data availability to avoid ideological positions. The paper is a contribution towards the establishment of a multidimentional analysis grid to assess the sustainability of palm oil production based on an empirical survey with to levels : (i) holding and (ii) plot. We first aimed to present our approach based on World Agricultural Watch methodological framework. The empirical data were collected in Kampar District, Riau province, at holding level including one two oil palm plots showing contrasted levels of management (semi-managed and independent). Our first objective was to capture the global rationale of the holdings, to define a typology that would go beyond the usual size-based classification. After assessing the place and role of palm oil production within the household economy, we then tested a set of three-dimensional indicators (i.e. social, economic and environmental) to assess globally the impacts of oil palm development through smallholder development. In a region where oil palm cultivation tends to standardise the landscape, overwhelm the local economy and polarise the houshold's activity systems, we could identify a significant heterogeneity at holding and houshold levels. However, the strengthening of our methodology would require a larger sample.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 28, 2020 - 5:09:40 PM
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Alice Baudoin, Pierre-Marie Bosc, Margot Moulin, Julie Wohlfahrt, Raphael Marichal, et al.. Linking the transformation of production structures to a multidimensional sustainability assessment grid of smallholder's oil palm plantations. International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology, Taylor & Francis, 2015, 22 (6), pp.520-532. ⟨10.1080/13504509.2015.1090497⟩. ⟨hal-02641507⟩

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