Sustainable Rubber Conference 2016


Promoting environmental friendly and socially responsible rubber cultivation by Sustainable Rubber Platform 


Conference 17-19 October, 2016

Workshops 20-21 October, 2016


Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), Menglun Township, Mengla County, Yunnan Province 666303, PR China (

Registration fee

175 US$ / RMB 1075

Important dates

Registration opens 31st Dec 2015

Early bird registration (10% discount) 30 April 2016

Late registration 30 September 2016

Hosted by

Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG)
Chinese Academy of Sciences, China

SURUMER project: Sustainable Rubber Cultivation in the Mekong Region

World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), East & Central Asia regional office

China Chamber of Commerce of Metals, Minerals & Chemical Importers & Exporters (CCCMC)


Increasing demand for natural latex, coming largely from China, has driven a massive expansion in the area under rubber cultivation from 5.5 M ha in 1983 to 9.9 M ha in 2012, mostly in mainland SE Asia. A large part of this expansion has been realised through the conversion of natural forests, including secondary and pristine forests, to monoculture plantations. Impacts on ecosystem services have included loss of biodiversity, impaired water provisioning, reduced soil health, increased erosion and increased green house gas emissions, but their magnitude and potential mitigation strategies have not yet been fully assessed. Moreover, responding to exceptionally high prices in the late 2010s, farmers planted rubber on marginal land that is unlikely to be profitable in the long-term. Increased incidence of extreme events, as a consequence of climate change, and potential pest outbreaks are expected to exacerbate the problem. Although rubber income has brought wealth to some, it has also engendered severe social costs with respect to others, including poor labor conditions, eviction and lost access to resources resulting in increased poverty and decreased food security for those affected. Moreover, over investment in rubber has left many farmers vulnerable to global market fluctuations. The environmental and social consequences of current rubber cultivation practices, international rubber market developments and climate change threaten the sustainability of the industry in the region.

The Platform on Sustainable Rubber aims to promote research and facilitate communication among researchers, government agencies and industry groups concerned with the sustainability of rubber cultivation. The goal of this conference is to share information in a multi-disciplinary, multi-stakeholder setting with a view to promoting environmental friendly and socially responsible rubber cultivation.

Keynote speakers (proposed)

  • Professor Jefferson Fox (East West Centre, University of Hawaii)
  • Professor Thomas Giambelluca (Dept. Geography, University of Hawaii)
  • Tomomi Kumagai (Kyushu University)
  • Dr Eric Penot (CIRAD)
  • Beijing Rubber Study Group (TBA)
  • Professor Andreas Neef (University of Auckland)

Symposia (suggested topics)

Modeling changes and impacts

Session: Documenting land-use change – remote sensing approaches

Session: Modelling of impacts and scenarios

Ecology of monoculture rubber plantations

Session a: Impacts of rubber cultivation on plant and animal biodiversity

Session b: Rubber and ecosystem function

Socio-economic of rubber dominated landscapes

Session a: Impacts of conversion to rubber on SDGs

Session b: Prospects and risks under different socio-economic conditions

Future developments of rubber based systems

Session a: Adaptation and mitigation to climate change

Session b: Rubber agroforestry: Options for private and public benefit

Policy options of environmentally sustainable and socially responsible rubber

Session a: Land-use planning and implementation

Session b: Incentive options towards environmentally sustainable rubber

Cross-boarder rubber trade and investment and consequences for sustainable rubber

Session a: Foreign investments versus land grabbing

Session b: Developing industry guidelines for sustainable rubber

Date Time Activity
16 October 2016 14:00 Registration of participants
16:00 Opening ceremony
17:00 Keynote presentation
18:00 Reception
17 October 2016 08:30 Keynote presentations
10:00 Coffee break
10:30 Parallel symposia
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Parallel symposia
15:00 Coffee break
15:30 Parallel symposia
17:30 End of day
18 October 2016 All day Field excursions
19 October 2016 08:30 Keynote presentations
10:00 Coffee break
10:30 Parallel symposia
12:00 Lunch
13:00 Parallel symposia
15:00 Coffee break
15:30 Parallel symposia
18:00 Conference dinner
20-21 October 2016 WORKSHOP: SURUMER-Stakeholder Dialogue
20 October 2016 WORKSHOP: CCCMC Guidelines for Chinese companies investing in rubber overseas


There are a range of hotels options in Menglun from the 5-star Anatana Hotel immediately outside the garden, XTBG’s own 3-star hotel located in the gardens and range of local business hotels in town. XTBG will assist in booking hotels for participants.


There will be a pick-up/drop-off service from/to the airport and a shuttle service each day from hotels to the conference venue.

Organizing Committee Chair: Chen Jin (XTBG) Secretary: Rhett D Harrison (ICRAF) Alice Hughes (XTBG) Georg Cadish (SURUMER) Sun Lihui (CCCMC) Academic Committee Co-Chair: Georg Cadisch (SURUMER) Co-Chair: Xu Jianchu (ICRAF) Thomas Aenis (Humboldt Universität Berlin) Alain Brauman (IRD) Jefferson Fox (East West Center) Rhett D Harrison (ICRAF) Alice Hughes (XTBG) Gerhard Langenberger (SURUMER) K. Martin (University of Hohenheim) Tan Zheng-Hong (XTBG) Philippe Thaler (CIRAD)