|dc.description.abstract||Oil palm plantations are known for their adverse effects on biodiversity and human well-being. Such industrial agricultural landscapes are homogeneous and oversimplify biodiversity and convey little or no human well-being. Yet, an oil palm plantation design implementing land sharing and land sparing simultaneously can provide a place for biodiversity conservation, generate social landscape values and provide human well-being. Also, local biodiversity controls agricultural pests.
An Integration of nature in an oil palm plantation can foresee benefits and risks to the oil palm and workers. First, a heterogeneous agricultural landscape can provide habitat to local species, which can act as a biological control in agricultural systems. Second, it can provide social landscape values and change and shape humans’ perception of the plantation. Third, workers are positively or negatively affected by interacting with nature inside the plantation.
Intensive large-scale agricultural landscapes such as plantations are often considered and designed as sole production areas. They can also exhibit a complex spatial pattern of vegetation types, implementing land sparing and land sharing approaches. The company, Poligrow Colombia SAS, has implemented these approaches in the Macondo plantation for a decade. The company followed the principles and criteria of the RSPO and the Rainforest Alliance plus the national laws to design the oil palm plantation. As
a result, the plantation has different vegetation types besides oil palms, namely compositional and configuration heterogeneity. The Macondo plantation has gained a nature-enhanced agricultural landscape that can create different habitats for local flora and fauna and provide ecological and social values. For instance, biological control service for oil palms pests of Opsiphanes cassina and Rhynchophorus palmarum. Also, workers can perceive social landscape values such as shade and water provision. A nature-enhanced plantation design is possible to implement and maintain, though it generates costs. Yet, implementing both approaches provides a framework to make large-scale farming systems more sustainable. It is possible to argue that nature-enhanced plantation design is more sustainable as compared to monocultures. Other oil palm plantations and other large-agricultural systems can see the Macondo plantation design as viable. Production areas and conservation areas, with native flora and fauna, are intertwined. However, it is still unknown whether implementing both approaches simultaneously in an oil palm plantation can bring any benefits to the agricultural landscape structure, provision of social landscape values and human wellbeing.
This interdisciplinary study explores the role of nature in oil palm plantations. Specifically, to analyze the landscape characteristics of the Macondo plantation for two purposes: a) ecologically, the landscape composition and configuration of the plantation enhance landscape connectivity and pest control service, 2) socially, owing to the landscape characteristics, plantation workers perceive social landscape values,
well-being and better working conditions in the plantation. Chapter 1 is the general introduction describing the oil palm plantations worldwide. Chapter 1 summarizes the ecological and social effects of rapid oil palm expansion in tropical regions. Chapter 2 is a description of the study area. The chapter begins with a description of the Meta department and the municipality of Mapiripán to understand the general context of
the eastern region. Following is a description of the company Poligrow Colombia SAS and the Macondo plantation where the case study was performed. Chapter 3 is the theoretical framework of the project. Chapter 4 is the research design and research questions.
In Chapter 5, the landscape analysis of the Macondo plantation is related to pest occurrence. To show relationships among the landscape structural types, land cover, and pest occurrence, a landscape analysis by multivariate cluster analysis and an NMDS ordination were performed. The results show that a heterogeneous plantation improves landscape connectivity and control pest populations.
In Chapter 6, the specific nature-enhanced plantation design can provide social landscape values, SLV, to workers is examined. The results on the structural landscape analysis of the plantation, in Chapter 5, were analyzed jointly with the results from the participatory mapping with plantation workers. The correspondence between landscape analysis and the location of the perceived values is analyzed, revealing socio-ecological hotspots (e.g., epiphytarium). It highlights the relationship between the landscape characteristics of the plantation and the social landscape values perceived by workers. Workers perceive most social landscape values in the prevalence of landscape connectivity and heterogeneity.
Chapter 7 addresses whether plantation workers relate to and perceive nature (e.g., gallery and riparian forests) and non-natural areas (e.g., crops such as oil palm) in the plantation. Using qualitative content analysis from focus group discussion and in-depth interviews with workers, I infer they derive a great variety of values and also experience ambivalent relationships towards nature in the plantation. Through the
perceived benefits to humans and other species, a possible naturalization process might happen on such a nature-enhanced plantation.
Finally, Chapter 8 is the general discussion and conclusions.||de_DE