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   Location:Home > Research > Research Progress
New payment system developed to support reconversion of rubber plantations
Author: Song Liang
Update time: 2023-03-24
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In a study published in Global Ecology and Conservation, researchers from Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG) and their collaborators developed a combined market and environment payment system to simulate the reconversion dynamics of forested rubber plantations as stimulated by economic benefits.

With many forests converted to rubber plantations, Xishuangbanna has experienced a tremendous forest cover loss over past decades. Various measures have been discussed to foster reconverting rubber plantations back into close-to-nature rainforests. Some studies have suggested that payments for ecosystem services (PES) from the government should be made to landowners. However, PES solely from government can be problematic because they usually fail to outcompete the profit that smallholders expect to gain from rubber production. 

The researchers developed a system that aims at setting incentives for farmers to convert rubber plantations into artificial rainforests, which are meant to resemble natural rainforests and support the provision of ecosystem services. The combined market and government payment system split PES into (1) the economic benefit that rubber farmer earn from market-priced ecosystem services and (2) compensation payments from the government.

The researchers carried out a simulation study from 2020 to 2050 in Xishuangbanna to valuate the potential impacts of the system.Considering that an intensively managed rubber plantation cannot be converted into a natural rainforest in the short term, the researchers chose the artificial rainforest as the target ecosystem for the reconverted lands.

 In the baseline simulation, most of the small patches disappeared by 2050 due to low yield and small patch-first reconversion strategy. A $0.377 billion payment ensured 50% reconversion of rubber in Xishuangbanna. Total carbon sequestration from the reconversion reached 14,830,000 (tC) by 2050. The system could contribute to restore rainforest in cash crop-dominated landscapes. Sensitivity analyses revealed that rubber price was the most sensitive factor on the total net presetnt value (NPV) of compensatory payments, and followed by the discount rate.

This new integrated payment system is likely transferable to manage other tropical croplands if one aims to achieve a balance between regional economic development and ecological protection,” said SONG Liang of XTBG.




SONG Liang Ph.D Principal Investigator  

Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China    

E-mail: songliang@xtbg.ac.cn 


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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences. Menglun, Mengla, Yunnan 666303, China
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