Agricultural Innovations for Communities for intensified and sustainable farming systems in Timor-Leste (AI-Com) - University of the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia

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Agricultural Innovations for Communities for intensified and sustainable farming systems in Timor-Leste (AI-Com)

Agricultural Innovations for Communities for intensified and sustainable farming systems in Timor-Leste (AI-Com)

2016-2021

A$228,000, funded through Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR)

Leader: Dr Tony Page

Background

Opportunities identified for productive research to support rural livelihoods includes production of selected non-timber tree products (tree legume fodder and their companion sandalwood, native to T-L). Their adoption can diversify farm income and act as a buffer to climate variability, and is likely to require:

(i)   cultural change within the community,

(ii)  reliable identification of appropriate species, varieties, agronomic methods, and

(iii) sustainable water and land management practices.

The research encompasses socio-cultural as well as economic and technical aspects in the relevant research areas. It is being undertaken in two defined agro-ecological zones, covering a quarter of the country’s population.

Aims and objectives   

The aim of this project is to design and evaluate methods and practices for communities to increase forage supply from forage tree legumes (FTL) and sandalwood production to provide both short-term and long-term economic opportunities .

Objectives     
  1. Site suitability & FTL/sandalwood agroforestry demonstrations;
  2. Nursery research with MAF to develop quality seedling production systems for transfer to community-based nursery; 
  3. Sandalwood rejuvenation for domestication & smallholder agroforestry.

Research team  

Dr Tony Page, USC

William Erskine, Liz Barbour, Amin Mugera, UWA

Robert Williams, Luis Almeida, AiCom

Adalfredo Ferriera, Luis Patrocinio, Ida Pereira, MAF

Key successes

This project has conducted research for development with several current and future impacts including the following:

  • Establishment of sandalwood demonstration / management plots with forage tree legumes (FTL) Leucaena/Sesbania across ten locations.
  • Wild sandalwood characterisation in 11 populations across its environmental range to support species domestication.
  • Development and documentation of improved germination and nursery protocols for smallholder seedling production.
  • Establishment of provenance trials in Natarbora with FTLs and Atabae as forest enrichment. The blocks have been planted at high density for future conversion into seedling seed orchards.
  • Publication of sandalwood awareness (Sandalwood in Timor-Leste – Past, present and future) and host species booklets in English and Tetun.
  • Drafting of financial analysis of sandalwood production towards a decision making tool.
  • Timor-Leste project staff presented at Sandalwood Regional Forum in Vanuatu and participated in the Study Tour of Tanna in November 2019.

Contact  

Dr Tony Page 
Senior Research Fellow
Tel: +61 408 889 684
Email: tpage@usc.edu.au