Low Carbon Society Through Pekarangan, Traditional Agroforestry Practices in Java, Indonesia

Hadi Susilo Arifin, Regan Leonardus Kaswanto, and Nobukazu Nakagoshi

Abstract Pekarangan, as a traditional homestead garden, an optimal and sustainable land-use type of agroforestry system in the tropical region of Indonesia, has been researched since 1996. As greenery open space, which is located in the surround­ings of a house or residential building, it has spread from rural to urban areas, from the upper to the downstream reaches of watersheds. The area of pekarangan varies with the owners and depends on the socioeconomic level, profession, and their distance from the city. However, sustainable and abundant bioresources are expected to be available. Through local wisdom and local knowledge of the community, pekarangan have been practiced as agro-forestry, agro-silvo-pastura, and agro-silvo-fishery systems. Agricultural biodiversity and sustainable material circulation are maintained in pekarangan. Pekarangan is potential land for eco­system services, such as carbon sequestration, water resource management, agrobiodiversity conservation, and landscape beautification. Multistory levels of vegetation structures and species richness of pekarangan not only can be proposed to mitigate global warming and global climate change impacts, but also can be promoted as supporting agricultural land for food security at the household level. The number of species in a pekarangan varies according to local physical circumstances, ecological characteristics of the plants, kinds of animal species, and socioeconomic and cultural factors. Results showed that the size of the open space area of pekarangan has decreased, and the number of species has also become less, during the 10-year period of research. If pekarangan systems and other smallholder tree-based systems were to expand in currently degraded and

H. S. Arifin (*) • R. L. Kaswanto

Landscape Management Division, Landscape Architecture Department,

Faculty of Agriculture, Bogor Agricultural University (IPB), Kampus IPB,

Dramaga-Bogor 16680, Indonesia

e-mail: hsarifin@ipb. ac. id; dedhsa@yahoo. com

N. Nakagoshi

Graduate School for International Development and Cooperation, Hiroshima University, Higashi-Hiroshima 739-8529, Japan

N. Nakagoshi and J. A. Mabuhay (eds.), Designing Low Carbon Societies in Landscapes, Ecological Research Monographs, DOI 10.1007/978-4-431-54819-5_8, © Springer Japan 2014

underutilized lands, such as Imperata grasslands, the C sequestration potential would be about 80 Mg C ha-1. On the other hand, pekarangan as an agroforestry system contributes significantly to a region’s carbon budget while simultaneously enhancing the livelihoods of the rural community.

Keywords Agrobiodiversity • Agro-silvo-fishery • Agro-silvo-pastura • Species richness • Watershed

8.1 Introduction

The global crisis has been affecting Indonesia in all aspects, such as a social crisis, political crisis, and economic crisis, as well as the environmental and ecological crisis. Those impacts have already touched most of Indonesian communities from the rural to the urban areas. To increase the ecological-social-cultural-economic welfare of the rural community in Indonesia, urgent action is needed to develop environmental conservation through traditional or complex agroforestry practices; thus, community welfare can be gained by eco-village implementation, which is balanced among the ecological, socioeconomic, and spiritual values of the com­munity (Arifin and Arifin 2010). In the micro-level of landscape, pekarangan, a piece of land surrounding the house, is potential land for ex situ agrobiodiversity conservation through agroforestry, agro-silvo-fishery, and agro-silvo-pastura sys­tem practices.

As greenery open space, pekarangan has permanent vegetation. Therefore, ecologically the pekarangan is supposed to sequestrate carbon dioxide (CO2) from the air to be stocked in tree leaves, branches, trunks, roots, and soils. Pekarangan has a role not only in carbon (C) sequestration, but also in water resources management, agrobiodiversity conservation, and landscape beautification as part of the scheme of the payment for environmental services (PES) (Kaswanto and Nakagoshi 2012). The PES scheme is being proposed and tested in different contexts as a way to involve the local people in conservation practice (Nurhariyanto et al. 2010). Furthermore, the low carbon society (LCS) can be achieved through pekarangan, the traditional agroforestry practices in Java, Indonesia

The Pekarangan area was studied mostly in Java island because of the 5,132,000 ha of pekarangan in Indonesia, 1,736,000 ha are on Java (Prosterman and Mitchell 2002) (citing 2000 Statistical Yearbook of Indonesia, Table 5.1.1.). As in the distribution of croplands, the distribution of pekarangan is very unequal. Thus, for Indonesia as a whole, 40.28 % of households have less than 100 m2 of pekarangan, 25.24 % have 100-200 m2, 11.72 % have 200-300 m2, and 22.76 % have 300 m2 or more (Arifin 1998). Table 8.1 shows the distribution for the four provinces of Java. Pekarangans areas spread from rural, to suburban, to urban areas. The LCS could be achieved through pekarangan; so long as housing devel­opment is constructed by the horizontal building system, it is assumed the more built-up housing, the larger the numbers and area of pekarangan.

Table 8.1 Size distribution of pekarangan land in agricultural provinces of Java (percentages of households that have pekarangan in the size groups shown)

Provinces in Java

<100 m2 (%)

100-200 m2 (%)

200-300 m2 (%)

>300 m2 (%)

West Java-Banten





Central Java





East Java





D. I. Yogyakarta





Source: Arifin (1998) [Appendix Table 2 (citing 1995 Housing and Settlement Statistics, Indone­sian Statistics Center Bureau 1996)]