Trade-offs between multifunctionality and profit in tropical smallholder landscapes

Ingo Grass*, Christoph Kubitza, Vijesh V. Krishna, Marife D. Corre, Oliver Mußhoff, Peter Pütz, Jochen Drescher, Katja Rembold, Eka Sulpin Ariyanti, Andrew D. Barnes, Nicole Brinkmann, Ulrich Brose, Bernhard Brümmer, Damayanti Buchori, Rolf Daniel, Kevin F. A. Darras, Heiko Faust, Lutz Fehrmann, Jonas Hein, Nina HenningsPurnama Hidayat, Dirk Hölscher, Malte Jochum, Alexander Knohl, Martyna M. Kotowska, Valentyna Krashevska, Holger Kreft, Christoph Leuschner, Neil Jun S. Lobite, Rawati Panjaitan, Andrea Polle, Anton M. Potapov, Edwine Purnama, Matin Qaim, Alexander Röll, Stefan Scheu, Dominik Schneider, Aiyen Tjoa, Teja Tscharntke, Edzo Veldkamp, Meike Wollni

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

125 Citations (Scopus)
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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.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1186
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2020
Externally publishedYes

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Copyright the Author(s) 2020. Version archived for private and non-commercial use with the permission of the author/s and according to publisher conditions. For further rights please contact the publisher.


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