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Sustainability 2014, 6(4), 2223-2247; doi:10.3390/su6042223
Article

Pioneering in Marginal Fields: Jatropha for Carbon Credits and Restoring Degraded Land in Eastern Indonesia

Received: 5 December 2013; in revised form: 18 March 2014 / Accepted: 24 March 2014 / Published: 16 April 2014
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Abstract: This paper highlights the role of a national Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) in Indonesia as “pioneer” actor in the jatropha global production network, linking solutions for local problems with narratives concerning global concerns. Analysis of previous activities of the NGO positions their jatropha project as one period in a sequence of donor-funded appropriate technology programs. On the island of Flores in Eastern Indonesia the NGO aimed to establish community based jatropha cultivation exclusively on “degraded land”, avoiding threats to food cultivation, and responding to local problems of land degradation and water resources depletion. In contrast with investors interested in jatropha based biofuel production for export, the NGO aimed at developing biofuel for local needs, including jatropha based electricity generation in the regional state-owned power plant. Anticipating progress in international and national regulations concerning the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) the 2008 project’s design included carbon credit income as a main source of future project financing. Using methods of socio-legal studies and political ecology, this study indicates that when the economic feasibility of a project is based on the future financial value of a legally constructed commodity like carbon credits, the sustainability of the project outcome can be questionable. The author recommends precaution when it comes to including anticipated income from carbon credits in calculating the economic viability of a project, as price developments can fluctuate when political support and regulations change.
Keywords: appropriate technology; NGO; rural development; renewable energy; technology transfer; brokers; narrative; regulation appropriate technology; NGO; rural development; renewable energy; technology transfer; brokers; narrative; regulation
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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MDPI and ACS Style

van Rooijen, L.W. Pioneering in Marginal Fields: Jatropha for Carbon Credits and Restoring Degraded Land in Eastern Indonesia. Sustainability 2014, 6, 2223-2247.

AMA Style

van Rooijen LW. Pioneering in Marginal Fields: Jatropha for Carbon Credits and Restoring Degraded Land in Eastern Indonesia. Sustainability. 2014; 6(4):2223-2247.

Chicago/Turabian Style

van Rooijen, Loes W. 2014. "Pioneering in Marginal Fields: Jatropha for Carbon Credits and Restoring Degraded Land in Eastern Indonesia." Sustainability 6, no. 4: 2223-2247.


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