A shortage of food has become an increasingly serious problem in recent years. Both expansion and intensification of land use, particularly rice production, will be necessary to overcome it.
To cope with this problem, we can’t only depend on our agricultural system. One solution that we can use is “Pekarangan System”. Have you heard about pekarangan system before? Or it seems weird that I used both english and bahasa in one phrase?
Pekarangan is a small scale agroforestry landscape in Indonesia. Pekarangan also known as homegardens, homestead plot and open space surrounding a house.
Agroforestry it self defined as the landscapes between agriculture and forestry, needed in order to balance agriculture intensification and forested land sustainability.
Pekarangan system was originated in Central Java and spread to West Java in the middle of the eighteenth century (Terra 1953). Previously javanese people have kebun talun to provide their needs. But in the development they start to built a house upon it and converted kebun talun into a homegarden (Pekarangan).
The kebun-talun system usually consists of three stages: kebun (garden), kebun campuran (mixed garden) and talun (mixed tree garden). The first stage, kebun, involves clearing the forest and cultivating annual crops. These crops are generally consumed by the farm household, with part of the produce sold as cash crops. In the kebun stage, three vertical layers of annual crops predominate: the lowest layer consists of creeping plants that occupy the ground below a height of 30 cm. The layer from 50 cm to 1 m is occupied by vegetables, and the upper layer includes maize, tobacco, cassava or leguminous vines supported by bamboo sticks.
Pekarangan has a lot of advantage, not only to provide daily needs such as food but also other particuliar benefit. First, pekarangan can help us to maintain the biodiversity. Comparatively high biodiversity was found in Pekarangan predominantly due to the large number of ornamental plants. Therefore Pekarangan can be more adaptive to human disturbance.
The carbon stock in Pekarangan varies from 3.49 to 10.84 Mg/ha in G1 and G2, while for G3 and G4 ranges from 6.54 to 22.23 Mg/ha. In total, the average carbon stock of Pekarangan is 9.90 Mg/ha. Nevertheless the carbon stock in Pekarangan is also estimated to account for 20% of natural forest. Plant density and growth in Pekarangan has the ability to mimic natural forest conditions.
Additional come derived from Pekarangan came from selling plants and livestock.
Additional nutrition for human
Plants and livestock raised in Pekarangan provided multiple types of nutritions that significantly enriches family’s health. Four nutrition types were investigated in order to determine the contribution of Pekarangan to each family’s diet through the Recall method (Hebert et al. 1997; Jonnalagadda et al. 2000; Domel Baxter et al. 2003). Those contributions were counted from calories (2.1%), protein (2.5%), vitamin A (12.7%) and vitamin C (23.1%) of total consumption.
A typical homegarden has a similar vertical structure from year to year, though there may be some seasonal variation. The lowest story (less than 1 m in height) is dominated by starchy food plants, vegetables, and spices (e.g., sweet potatoes, taro, Xanthosoma, chili peppers, eggplant, and Languas). The next layer (1-2 m in height) also is dominated by starchy food plants (e.g., ganyong [Canna edulis], Xanthosoma, cassava, and gembili [Dioscorea esculenta]). Cassava and ganyong are the most common plants in the homegardens. Both of these plants have a high calorie content and are important as rice substitutes.
The next story (2-5 m) is dominated by bananas, papayas, and other fruit trees. The 5–to 10–m layer also is dominated by fruit trees (e.g., soursop, jackfruit, pisitan [Lansium domesticum], guava, and mountain apple) or other cash crops such as cloves. The top layer (10 m or more) is dominated by coconut trees and other trees (e.g., Albizia) for building materials and firewood. The overall effect is a vertical structure similar to a natural forest, a structure that appears to optimize the use of space and sunlight energy. The light is intercepted by the different strata and the resulting levels of photosynthetic activity.
Certain groups of plants tend to be found together. For example, in the Bantarkalong area (Abdoellah 1980), wherever gadung (Dioscorea hispida) is fou~d in the homegarden, it is probable that petai (Parkia speciosa), rambutan (Nephelium lappaceum), and possibly guava and suweg (Amorphophalus campanulatus) will be there as well. An important plant association consists of Rambutan, kelor (Moringa pterygosperma), rose, mangkokan (Nothopanax scutellarium), gadung, and pomelo. Each of the plants in this association provides the farmer with something useful. Rambutan fruit is sold and eaten; roses are grown for their esthetic value; mangkokan is grown as an esthetic plant and is used occasionally for hedges and hair tonic; kelor is used as a vegetable and is believed to be a magical plant that can exorcise the devil and remove the strength of undefeated people. Gadung, besides its function as a food, can be used as a weather indicator because the rainy season can be expected to begin a short time after its leaves start to grow. Pomelo has a similar function. When its fruits start to grow, the season of annual plant cultivation begins. These traditional weather and planting–time indicators are still being used today, and many farmers believe agricultural failures are due mainly to improper planting times. They say, “Apa guna gawe, yen ora guna mangsa, sanajan gelema menggawe yen ora ngerti mangsa yakin rugi,” which means, “Although we like to work, if we do not follow the proper starting time, all will give disadvantages.”
The structure of homegardens and kebun–talun can be affected by population density, the socioeconomic status of the household, and the proportion of land suitable for rice paddy. For example, the Sundanese households in a village in West Java appeared to have a greater number of ornamental and vegetable plants in their homegardens than the Javanese.
It was found pekarangan has high biodiversity and carbon stock may account for up to 20% of forest landscape, while total income could be increased by up to 12.9%. Finally it was recorded that pekarangan may provide 2.0% of daily calorie intake.
Pekarangan has a potention to; improve biodiversity conservation, accumulate further carbon stock, increase wealth, and provide additional nutrition for households. Biodiversity conservation can be achieved by managing species diversity and at the same time contribute to reducing CO2 from atmosphere through stock and absorption. Finally, sustainable development can be obtained when a Pekarangan is managed properly.
Raditional Agroforestry in West Java : The Pekarangan (Homegarden) and Kebun Talun (Annual Perennial Rotation) Cropping Systems by Linda Christanty, Oekan S. Abdoellah, Gerald G. Marten, and Johan Iskandar