Ethnobotany, rattan agroforestry, and conservation of ecosystem services in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia

  • Afentina
  • Paul McShaneEmail author
  • Wendy Wright


Rattan agroforestry is an important land use system in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia, providing a wide range of products for subsistence communities. The ethnobotanical importance of rattan includes heritage values reflecting traditional ecological knowledge. This traditional forestry practice is consistent with necessary conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services currently threatened by expansion of oil palm plantations. We examined species composition and morphology (including life stages) of vegetation associated with rattan agroforests in the Katingan district, Central Kalimantan. An examination of harvested rattan plots revealed 101 species of vegetation of which 90% are considered to be useful (food, construction materials, medicines) and most (97%) were native species, typical of lowland tropical forest vegetation. Vegetation in the rattan agroforests was dominated by trees (in terms of species richness). There were 80 species of trees, representing 79% of the plants surveyed. Vitex pubescens (kaluan) had the highest importance value as it occupied more space, was represented by more individuals and was most frequently found in rattan gardens. These trees in general have a relatively open canopy with strong branches; properties considered ideal to support rattan. Canopy forming species are actively managed to provide for growth of useful understory vegetation (including rattan) important in the livelihoods of village communities. Rattan agroforests also provide cultural services reflecting traditional use (e.g. a sense of belonging and ancestral linkages for local forest-dependent communities). The importance of ethnobotanical approaches to rattan cultivation includes the socio-economic evaluation of land use and the promotion of sustainable land use policies in Indonesia. This is important in the context of oil palm expansion which has a demonstrably adverse impact on ecosystem services.


Ethnobotany Biodiversity Rattan agroforest Indonesia Ecosystem services Community development 



This study is part of PhD research supported by Australia Award Scholarship. We thank the people in Tumbang Runen village who willingly helped and participated in this research. Two anonymous reviewers contributed useful suggestions which we have incorporated.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 27 kb)


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© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ForestryPalangka Raya UniversityPalangka RayaIndonesia
  2. 2.Palangka Raya UniversityPalangka RayaIndonesia
  3. 3.College of Science and EngineeringJames Cook UniversityTownsvilleAustralia
  4. 4.School of Health and Life SciencesFederation University AustraliaVictoriaAustralia

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