Prioritizing Underutilized Tree Species for Domestication in Smallholder Systems of West Java

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Indonesian institutions involved in a Southeast Asian tree domestication study identified P. speciosa, D. zibethinus, G. arborea and S. koetjape as focal species. They also identified nursery management, tree propagation, germplasm distribution, tree management and product marketing as priorities for smallholder tree domestication. An additional priority for Indonesia was the production and distribution of technical information (Gunasena and Roshetko 2000).
In 1997, the Research and Development Center for Forest and Nature Conservation, an institution under FORDA prioritized fruit and timber species for smallholder tree domestication. D. zibethinus was identified as a priority fruit species and P. speciosa as a priority timber species with multiple uses. The Forestry Seed Technology Center, also under FORDA, focused on D. zibethinus as a priority fruit species and G. arborea as a high-value timber species (Roshetko and Evans 1999).
An overview of these species in the context of local knowledge and domestication steps to further enhance their productivity in smallholder agroforestry systems is provided here.

Manglietia glauca
M. glauca is a native but uncommon species in forests and tree gardens of West Java. About 20% of the respondents reported M. glauca in their dudukuhan systems, but the species comprises only 0.3% of the tree population. The use of M. glauca for land reclamation was initiated by PT Antam (Persero) Tbk, a gold mining company in eastern Nanggung. Farmers were enthusiastic about M. glauca because of the strong market demand for high quality timber. Although M. glauca has a longer rotation compared to P. falcataria or Maesopsis eminii, farmers wanted to domesticate M. glauca as a long-term investment and keep growing P. falcataria or Maesopsis eminii as short-term investment.
The SWOT analysis revealed that M. glauca’s greatest shortcomings are its recalcitrant seed and dearth of germplasm owing to its limited natural population, which is threatened by illegal harvesting in protected forests. Domestication of M. glauca should start with the identification and collection of germplasm. Remnant populations of M. glauca in the Mount Halimun and Salak National Park should be mapped and evaluated as germplasm sources. Park staff and local farmers who know these sites could assist in the process. Other domestication priorities are developing suitable propagation methods, making growth comparisons of provenances and development of management practices.
Parkia speciosa
P. speciosa is not a new species in the Nanggung community. About 17% of the respondents cultivated P. speciosa but the species accounts for only 0.6% of dudukuhan trees. Manurung et al. (2005) reported that P. speciosa was the ninth most common tree species in Nanggung, comprising 2.2% of all trees. Even under that limited level of cultivation, P. speciosa could provide 10% of non-timber income from tree gardens, 3% of agricultural income and 1% of overall household income (Budidarsono et al. 2006). The main product of this species is the pods with edible seeds, which are consumed as a fresh or cooked vegetable and have many uses as a traditional medicine. Farmers favour P. speciosa because they are familiar with the species; demand for pods exceeds supply in local and regional markets resulting in a high price margin for farmers.
There is relatively little planting of P. speciosa in Nanggung because the commercial production of dudukuhans is oriented to timber production. P. speciosa showed high potential for increased domestication, with high product demand, farmers’ interest in the species, potential for expanding on-farm populations and existence of underexploited high-yielding genetic material. Domestication efforts for P. speciosa aim to shorten the non-productive period, improve productivity and reduce the risk of pest and diseases (a significant threat according to the SWOT analysis). These efforts should focus on improving propagation techniques, selecting and collecting local and commercial varieties, and developing improved management practices. Farmers and researchers have expressed interest in increasing yield or seedling quality by grafting high-yielding material onto root stock of local varieties. Thus farmers need to adopt nursery management practices that produce high-quality seedlings. There is potential for farmers to sell quality P. speciosa seedlings to government, private sector and farmer clients (Roshetko et al. 2004a).
Durio zibethinus
Like P. speciosa, D. zibethinus is common in Nanggung. Manurung et al. (2005) found that D. zibethinus comprised 1.5% of dudukuhan trees and accounted for 27.8% of species composition in dudukuhan systems (Budidarsono et al. 2006). Domestication of D. zibethinus should focus on the dissemination of high-quality varieties and commercial recognition of local varieties, processes that interest Nanggung farmers. Based on the research team’s observations, in Parakan Muncang alone there are 10 local D. zibethinus varieties that have superior quality and taste as well as thick flesh. Additional domestication efforts could focus on extending vegetative propagation and management practices to smallholders (Purnomosidhi et al. 2007).
Gmelina arborea
G. arborea is easy to cultivate and is widely grown in South and Southeast Asia. It grows well under low management conditions and requires no soil amendments on reasonably fertile sites; however it performs poorly on degraded infertile sites and at altitudes over 800 m. It is a common species in government planting programs and industrial plantations in Indonesia, but has yet to achieve wide popularity among farmers in Nanggung. It has become popular with farmers in Nusa Tenggara (Roshetko et al. 2004b) and is cultivated by farmers in Lampung, but to a lesser extent than P. falcataria or teak (Tukan et al. 2004). G. arborea was introduced to Nanggung recently. About 17% of the surveyed farmers claimed to cultivate G. arborea, but the dudukuhan inventory conducted by Manurung et al. (2005) found no G. arborea in Nanggung. Farmers were interested in G. arborea as a replacement for P. falcataria which was dying out because of the gall rust disease outbreak in West Java in 2008 (Rahayu et al. 2010). According to farmers’ perceptions, besides pest resistance, G. arborea has a straighter bole and higher quality wood than P. falcataria, but slightly slower growth. The rotation age was reported to be 8–12 years by farmers in Lampung (Yuliyanti 2000), 7–10 years by the forest industry (Roshetko et al. 2002) and 8−12 years in the Philippines (Bertomeu et al. 2011).
Smallholder domestication efforts for G. arborea should focus on access to and dissemination of high quality seeds and comparison trials of promising provenances and landraces. This is a prudent first step because most G. arborea seed available in Indonesia is of uncertain quality, yet superior sources of germplasm do exist (Roshetko et al. 2002). The best material in Jasinga trials could serve as a superior local seed source. Domestication efforts should also focus on developing smallholder silvicultural practices that improve growth and quality of G. arborea and planting models that integrate long- and short-rotation timber species.
Sandoricum koetjape
S. koetjape is considered a native but minor forest and tree garden component in Nanggung. Only 13% of the farmers reported S. koetjape on their farms. The species comprised 1.6% and 1.9% of dudukuhan trees according to Manurung et al. (2005) and Budidarsono et al. (2006) respectively. S. koetjape is underutilized compared to D. zibethinus and other fruit species because of its sour taste and lower market value. However, many S. koetjape trees in Nanggung are reported to produce sweet fruit which has high local demand. Farmers are interested in domesticating S. koetjape because of its large sweet fruit, with thick flesh and small seeds. S. koetjape is also valued for its timber which is easy to work and polish.
Domestication efforts should focus on germplasm sources that produce consistently large sweet fruit with thick flesh. A number of such trees are reported to grow in Parakan Muncang and other parts of Nanggung. To multiply sweet kecapi germplasm quickly, farmer-friendly vegetative propagation methods will be required, as well as improved tree management practices. Subsequent efforts should focus on developing recognition of sweet kecapi varieties.
The productivity of smallholder agroforestry systems can be enhanced through the domestication of underutilized species. In the context of participatory domestication the definition of ‘underutilized species’ includes species that may be exploited in commercial sectors but do not currently approach their potential in smallholder agroforestry systems. Farmers prioritized M. glauca, P. speciosa, D. zibethinus, G. arborea and S. koetjape for domestication. All five species hold promise for multi-species, multi-product agroforestry to enhance smallholder livelihoods and can grow under the low management conditions common in smallholder systems. They represent an array of indigenous and exotic tree types that produce timber, fruit or spices and those at various points on the domestication continuum.
P. speciosa, D. zibethinus and G. arborea are well-known species with commercial value but are not fully exploited at the smallholder level. M. glauca and S. koetjape are indigenous species that are underexploited at all levels. D. zibethinus and S. koetjape primarily produce fruit. P. speciosa produces a spice. M. glauca and G. arborea are long- and short-rotation timber species respectively. Furthering the domestication and utilization of these species requires the identification and dissemination of available high-quality germplasm sources and the development of farmer-friendly propagation and tree management practices. The marketing practices for the products of these five species could be improved by farmers taking a more active role, starting with the production of reliable quantities of high-quality products. These issues are best addressed through a participatory domestication approach in which farmers and researchers collaborate to develop and implement a species-specific tree domestication program. This process has already begun through the prioritization process reported in this paper.
The authors would like to acknowledge the contributions of all respondents involved in the study. We thank Andi Margono for field assistance, staff of Halimun Salak National Park and FORDA, as well as Ramni Jamnadass of the World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF) in Nairobi, Kenya for guidance and financial support.
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1,3* Research and Development Center for Conservation and Rehabilitation, Jalan Gunung Batu 5, Bogor, Indonesia.

2 Winrock International, Morrilton, AR, USA.

2,3,4 World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), Southeast Asia Regional Office, PO Box 161, Bogor 16001, Indonesia.

*Corresponding author: email; telephone/fax +62 8124203265.

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