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  • Ward_2020_Smallholder perceptions of canal blocking_accepted

    Accepted author manuscript, 752 KB, PDF document

    Embargo ends: 19/12/21


  • Caroline Ward
    University of Leeds
  • Lindsay C. Stringer
    University of Leeds
  • Eleanor Warren-Thomas
  • Fahmuddin Agus
    Indonesia Center for Agricultural Land Resources Research and Development, Bogor, Indonesia
  • Merry Crowson
    Zoological Society of London
  • Keith Hamer
    University of Leeds
  • Bambang Hariyadi
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Winda D. Kartika
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Jennifer Lucey
    University of Oxford
  • Colin McClean
    University of York
  • Neneng L. Nurida
    Indonesia Center for Agricultural Land Resources Research and Development, Bogor, Indonesia
  • Nathalie Petorelli
    Zoological Society of London
  • Etty Pratiwi
    Indonesia Center for Agricultural Land Resources Research and Development, Bogor, Indonesia
  • Aasmadi Saad
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Ririn Andriyani
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Tantria Ariani
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Heni Sriwahyuni
    Jambi University, Jambi, Indonesia
  • Jane K. Hill
    University of York

The Indonesian government committed to restoring over 2 million ha of degraded peatland by the end of 2020, mainly to reduce peat fires and greenhouse gas emissions. Although it is unlikely the government will meet this target, restoration projects are still underway. One restoration strategy involves blocking peatland drainage canals, but the consequences of this for smallholder farmers whose livelihoods are dependent on agriculture are unclear. This paper investigates perceived impacts of canal blocks on smallholder farmers and identifies factors that affect their willingness to accept canal blocks on their land. We use data from 181 household questionnaires collected in 2018 across three villages in Jambi province, Sumatra. We found that the majority of respondents would accept canal blocks on their farms, perceiving that the blocks would have no impact on yields or farm access, and would decrease fire risk. Respondents who would not accept blocks on their farms were more likely to use canals to access their farms and perceive that canal blocks would decrease yields. The majority of farmers unwilling to accept canal blocks did not change their mind when provided with an option of a block that would allow boat travel. Our results improve understanding of why some smallholders may be unwilling to engage with peatland restoration. Further research is needed to understand the impact of canal blocks on smallholders' yields. Engaging with stakeholders from the outset to understand farmers' concerns, and perceptions is key if the government is to succeed in meeting its peatland restoration target and to ensure that the costs and benefits of restoration are evenly shared between local stakeholders and other actors.

Supplementary Information: The online version contains supplementary material available at 10.1007/s10113-020-01737-z.


  • Conservation social science, Environmental social science, Perceptions, Questionnaires, Interviews
Original languageEnglish
Article number1
JournalRegional Environmental Change
Issue number1
Early online date19 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2021
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