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Jungle rubber provides important forest function of biodiversity conservation

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The main 'service' that differentiates rubber agroforests, as in Jambi Indonesia, from other 'tree crop' production systems, is the diversity of plants and animals. With rubber trees ( Hevea brasiliensis ) typically below 50% of the total tree basal area, the diversity of forest trees, epiphytes, birds, insects and mammals is around 50-70% of that in natural forests. In the landscape where natur al forests are fast disappearing, species such as the endangered Sumatran tiger and Rafflesia arnoldii, the world’s biggest flower, use jungle rubber for movement and dispersal. In many places in Sumatra jungle rubber connects national parks and protected areas, hence functioning as important corridors that allow movement of wild animals and dispersal of plant species. These agroforests are also a primary source of daily income for million s of rubber farmers. Jungle rubber provides one of the best examples of an 'integrate' approach to ecological agriculture, combining conservation and income generating opportunities.

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