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Agricultural Policy Research to Support Natural Resource Management in Indonesia’s Upland Landscapes

Project Code: ADP/2015/043
Program: Agribusiness
Research Program Manager: Mr Howard Hall
Project Leader: Randy Stringer - University of Adelaide
MAR 2018
DEC 2021
Project Status: Legally Committed/Active
Key partners
Australian National University
Indonesian Centre for Agriculture Socio Economic and Policy Studies
University of New England
World Agroforestry Centre
World Wild Fund for Nature - Indonesia


Advising on policy interventions to enhance productivity, reduce negative environmental externalities and improve household welfare in Indonesia’s upland catchments. 

In Indonesia, some 48 million people live in and around forest boundaries. Most rely on upland landscapes for their livelihoods and economic development, but the loss of agricultural productivity and ecosystem services is leading to increased poverty and food insecurity. 

Recent studies show that agricultural policies and decentralised administrative systems are contributing to permanent productivity declines in Indonesia’s upland catchments. Policies and land allocation procedures accelerate agricultural expansion into forested catchments, encouraging land use practices that result in soil erosion, soil nutrient loss, flooding, landslides, sedimentation and biodiversity loss. 

Indonesia’s research agencies and the international development community have focused on promoting innovative farm technologies to improve catchment productivity. However, policy and market incentives have led to low adoption rates. 

There is a lack of recent analysis examining how economic policies shape farm household land use decisions in Indonesia’s upland catchments. This project aims to remedy that.

Expected project outcomes

  • Strengthened empirical knowledge base to design and target interventions that achieve better agricultural development with improved natural resource use.
  • Policy assessment and decision-making tools that improve public investment choices at village and district levels.
  • Local and national policy-makers equipped with the analytical skills that allow them to make improved policy choices.
  • Lower economic costs to communities due to lower sedimentation and flooding. 
  • Lower organic and inorganic pollution leading to reduced contamination.
  • Better soil management leading to improved and sustained productivity.
  • More participation and greater information sharing by individuals in their formal and informal social networks, enhanced capacities and participation of women’s groups and village organisations in local development decision-making, and better targeting of extension and training to reduce adoption barriers.