HC collaborated with NUS Department of Biological Sciences and RubberWay to explore the benefits of pooling our traceability and the risk data from RubberWay to identify the factors driving deforestation and degradation in the buffer zones of rubber plantations. The research was led by Manjari Jayathilake, as part of her doctoral thesis, which assessed the natural rubber industry and its impact on deforestation.
HC previously designed and implemented a survey questionnaire in our HeveaTrace Farm Mapping Pilot And RubberWay Study. As part of the research, Manjari created a combined data set consisting of the HeveaTrace, RubberWay responses, and other reference data sources like Hansen forest loss and Vancutsem deforestation and degradation of undisturbed tropical moist forests. With this data, she constructed linear and generalised linear mixed-effects models to identify correlates of forest loss, selecting the best models using the Akaike’s information criterion (AIC). She carried out a Monte Carlo test to calculate the Moran’s index to ensure spatial independence between observations.
Figure 1. (a) Jambi province in Indonesia and (b) locations of the rubber plantations where the surveys were conducted.
Through a series of models, she observed that high rubber prices were positively associated with annual deforestation and degradation, particularly around larger rubber plantations. Additionally, spatial variables including travel time to cities and distance to the nearest protected areas from the plantation, also exhibited positive relationships with forest loss and degradation suggesting plantations located away from cities and protected areas may be linked to deforestation and degradation events in Jambi, Indonesia.
Her findings suggest that standards and certification schemes be implemented in relatively larger, remotely-located plantations first, as these may have a better economic capacity to get involved. Global rubber prices could also provide an incentive for plantation-associated deforestation, which points to the need for a dynamic price premium for sustainable producers that do not turn to deforestation.
At HC, we are open to sharing data with researchers and collaborate with industry-partners who share our vision in sustainability and traceability. Do reach out to us at email@example.com, if you would like to join us in achieving these goals or learn more about our work.
Figure 2. Relationship between Deforestation, Degradation, Tree cover loss and Rubber price.
NUS Department of Biological Sciences Carrasco Bioecon Lab
The main research focus of the Bioecon lab gravitates around sustainability. The lab aims at identifying strategies for the reconciliation of biodiversity conservation, food security and economic development in the tropics. The research developed in the lab deals with the complex interactions occurring in tropical socio-ecological systems.
RubberWay is a risk-mapping solution developed to identify sustainability risks throughout the whole natural rubber upstream supply chain, known to be particularly complex and volatile.