The ASB-Indonesia National Consortium started its work in 1993. Within Indonesia, the island of Sumatra is ASB's focus of interest.
Historically, the lowland plains of Sumatra have been relatively untouched by development. However, major road construction over the past 20 years, government-sponsored settlement schemes (transmigrations), large-scale logging, and various large-scale public and private land development projects have had a drastic effect on the tropical forest cover. This process of deforestation, which is almost complete in lowland Sumatra, seems likely to be repeated elsewhere in Indonesia. By understanding this process and its consequences in Sumatra, ASB researchers hope to identify policies and technologies that can ameliorate the effects of deforestation and contribute to conservation of the remaining rainforests in Asia.
The ASB-Indonesia National Consortium focuses research in 2 districts in Sumatra: Jambi province and Lampung province. Jambi province has a relatively low population density (39 people per square km) and encompasses an area that includes both a landscape with fertile soils, rivers and floodplains, and the Sumatran foothills that feed it.
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In contrast, Lampung province, found at the southern tip of Sumatra, has more than 4 times the population density of Jambi province. Three ASB benchmark sites cover a range of landscapes from very degraded land following forest conversion to intensive food crop production, through Damar agroforestry, to mountainous coffee-growing regions
At its outset, the ASB programme in Indonesia firstly characterised land use in specific areas and the problems present as perceived by stakeholders. In Phase II of ASB-Indonesia's research programme, a more detailed analysis was made of the tradeoffs between local concerns (e.g., income and food security) and global concerns (e.g., carbon stocks and biodiversity). Read more: Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn in Indonesia: Summary Report and Synthesis of Phase II (PDF)
In Phase III, a mountainous site was used to analyse the relationship between land use (conversion of forest to coffee) and watershed functions. Options that farmers have for improving their farms and recovering forest functions were considered. Read more: Alternatives to Slash-and-Burn in Indonesia: Summary Report and Synthesis of Phase III (PDF)