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Agroforests as the intersection of instrumental and relational values of nature: gendered, culture-dependent perspectives?

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Agroforests exist in many forms, for example, across Indonesia, but are largely absent from policy documents. Development planners have long seen them as backward, but agroforests, or domesticated forests, with high (agro) biodiversity, reconcile instrumental (goal-oriented) and relational (harmony-oriented) values of nature for various stakeholders. Agroforests combine farmer-managed, remnant, and tolerated spontaneously established trees; they blend market demands and local needs in labor-efficient, nature-based land use. Could explicit recognition of agroforests, interfacing with these values, help achieve the Kunming-Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework? In the local cultural context, men and women may express appreciation for agroforest structure and function differently. The scarcity of the remaining natural forests increases agroforests’ role as diverse reservoirs. Agroforests are under threat of publicly subsidized conversion to monoculture tree crop plantations, exposing farmers to economic and ecological risk. Reimagining biodiversity conservation solutions where agroforests remain part of the landscape is an opportunity not to be missed.

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