Hands holding ripe coffee beans

Improving livelihoods through collaborative research

The University of Brawijaya (UB) and the UK Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (UKCEH) are working together to help improve the livelihoods of smallholder farmers growing coffee in agroforestry systems within Indonesia’s state owned production forests.

Agroforestry systems, where local communities are permitted to grow crops between the trees, have been initiated by the state to make the management of Indonesia’s extensive state forests more equitable. Forming part of the country’s Social Forestry Programme, such agroforestry schemes are designed to provide rural communities with greater access to the forest and improve livelihoods.

Under pine production forests, the Indonesian government has promoted agroforestry with shade tolerant coffee (1), however, challenges exist. Forest managers and farming communities often have different priorities for production conditions so a mutually beneficial balance is required. Multiple farmers use each forest so new strategies for equitable governance are also required. In addition, many of these forests are located on volcanic slopes, where they provide important ecosystem services, such as protecting water supplies and erosion prevention. This means that strategies are required that support the interaction between farming and forestry as well as maintaining or enhancing wider catchment ecosystem services.

A recent document by the Ministry of Environment and Forestry shows the urgency for the Government of Indonesia for implementing its social forestry commitment. Progress on the ground is too slow, as there is a lack of scalable solutions. UB Forest aspires to be a trendsetter here.
World Agroforestry (ICRAF)

To find solutions to these challenges, UB and UKCEH are working with a community of coffee farmers in “UB Forest”, a 544 ha predominantly pine production forest on the slope of the Arjuna volcano in the Malang Regency of Java Indonesia. In 2016 the Indonesian government gave UB the rights to operate this area as an Educational Forest, providing a unique opportunity to trial novel sustainable agronomic options and to develop equitable management approaches.

    Student working on a leaf litter experiment in UB Forest

    UB Forest is ...

    ... a unique opportunity to trial novel sustainable agronomic options and to develop equitable management approaches

    Centred on agronomic trials, our work spans agronomic experimentation, modelling activities, training, farmer engagement, market chain analysis, and an exploration of appropriate governance models. More details of each of these aspects can be found under “activities” through the links below.

    1. Iskandar, B. S., Iskandar, J., Partasasmita, R., & Alfian, R. L. (2018). Planting coffee and take care of forest: A case study on coffee cultivation in the forest carried out among people of Palintang, highland of Bandung, west Java, Indonesia. Biodiversitas. DOI: 10.13057/biodiv/d190626



    The activities carried out by the project are described in more detail:


    Where is UB Forest?

    UB Forest is in East Java, Indonesia.