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Rubber research in the spotlight (23-07-2015)

 

Research by scientists, including those from the World Agroforestry Centre, into how the expansion of rubber is impacting on the environment and smallholder livelihoods in Southeast Asia has gained considerable attention.  

The research, published in Global Environmental Change, shows that increasing amounts of environmentally valuable and protected land are being cleared for rubber plantations that are economically unsustainable.

The expansion of rubber is causing considerable environmental degradation; drastically reducing carbon stocks, soil productivity, water availability and biodiversity. It is also putting smallholders at risk from price fluctuations, loss of food security and the narrowing of income sources.

The scientists warn of a possible worldwide shortage of rubber due to rising demand and failing plantations. They estimate 57% of plantations in continental Southeast Asia may not be sustainable. They call for widespread monitoring of rubber expansion and its economic sustainability so that policies can be designed that protect livelihoods and environments.

The research was conducted by scientists from the World Agroforestry Centre, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh, the University of Singapore and the East-West Center.

http://www.worldagroforestry.org/

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