Economic and ecological trade-offs of agricultural specialization at different spatial scales

Stephan Klasen, Katrin M. Meyer, Claudia Dislich, Michael Euler, Heiko Faust, Marcel Gatto, Elisabeth Hettig, Dian N. Melati, I. Nengah Surati Jaya, Fenna Otten, César Pérez-Cruzado, Stefanie Steinebach (+2 others)
2016 Ecological Economics  
Specialization in agricultural systems can lead to trade-offs between economic gains and ecosystem functions. We suggest and explore a conceptual framework in which economic gains can be maximized when production activities are specialized at increasingly broader scales (from the household to the village, region or above), particularly when markets for outputs and inputs function well. Conversely, more specialization likely reduces biodiversity and significantly limits ecosystem functions. When
more » ... agricultural specialization increases and moves to broader scales as a result of improved infrastructure and markets or other drivers, ecosystem functions can also be endangered at broader spatial scales. Policies to improve agricultural incomes may influence the level of specialization at different scales and thus affect the severity of the trade-offs. This paper takes Jambi province in Indonesia, a current hotspot of rubber and oil palm monoculture, as a case study to illustrate these issues. We empirically show that the level of specialization differs across scales with higher specialization at household and village levels and higher diversification towards the province level. We discuss ways to resolve trade-offs between economic gains and ecological costs, including landscape design, targeted policies, and adoption of longterm perspectives.
doi:10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.01.001 fatcat:jbdzzplecvfefd273xqphb6bsa