FP Has Two New Doctors Who Graduated from Wageningen University and Research

On October 30 2023, the Department of Land and Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture (FP), Brawijaya University (UB) has succeeded in adding two new doctoral graduates from Wageningen University and Research (WUR), Netherlands. Dr. Rika Ratna Sari (top photo) and Dr. Danny Dwi Saputra (bottom photo), both of them have successfully defended their dissertations before the examining committee at Omnia auditorium building, Wageningen, Netherlands.

This doctoral pair started their study journey at the Plant Production System Group, Plant Science Department, WUR, simultaneously four years ago in December 2019. WUR itself is a leading university, especially in the field of Agriculture and Forestry, which ranks first in the QS World University Rankings, and is the best university in the Netherlands for the last 18 years based on The Keuzegids ranking.

Dr. Rika received funding support (scholarship) from the Ministry of Education, Culture, Research and Technology, Republic of Indonesia through the Overseas Postgraduate Education Scholarship (BPPLN) scheme. Meanwhile, for Dr. Danny received a scholarship from the Education Fund Management Institute (LPDP), Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Indonesia, through the Outstanding Scholarship for Indonesian Lecturers Abroad (BUDI LN). Apart from these two funding sources from the Indonesian Government, their research activities also received research funding assistance from research activities involving ICRAF-CIFOR, SESAM (WUR), as well as internal funding from Brawijaya University.

During her studies, Dr. Rika was promoted by Prof. Dr. Meine van Noordwijk and co-promoter Dr. Danaé MA Rezendaal and Dr. Erika N Speelman, all three from WUR. In a dissertation entitled “Managing tree diversity for social-ecological resilience: cacao and coffee agroforestry patterns, processes and games”. Rika revealed that efforts to manage tree diversity for resilient cocoa and coffee agroforestry require an interdisciplinary approach to studying social-ecological systems through understanding feedback between patterns, processes and farmer choices. Rika further explained that the active, adaptive and diverse decision making carried out by farmers in cocoa and coffee-based agroforestry contributes to the preservation of various ecological functions, increases the social-ecological resilience of the system and facilitates income diversification.

Meanwhile, promoted by Prof. Dr. Meine van Noordwijk (WUR), co-promoter Prof. Dr. Kurniatun Hairiah and Prof. Dr. Didik Suprayogo (Brawijaya University), in his dissertation entitled “Soil recovery in cacao and coffee agroforestry systems: litter, roots, carbon, and water”, Dr. Danny explores the potential of agroforestry to support the restoration of soil quality due to degradation processes caused by human activities (inaccurate land management) and natural disasters (volcanic eruptions). Using WaNulCAS process-based model, Dr. Danny also evaluated the performance of cocoa-based agroforestry systems in various scenarios, highlighting agroforestry’s ability to sequester carbon and its resilience in conditions of water scarcity. This research highlights the role of surface and root litter in facilitating soil recovery, while emphasizing the importance of selecting appropriate tree species for cocoa and coffee-based agroforestry practices, which are critical for combating land degradation and promoting sustainable land use practices.

During 4 years of study, both of them together have contributed at least 13 scientific articles to Brawijaya University banner, and also 4 popular articles in The Conversation Indonesia magazine. Apart from publications in scientific journals and popular magazines, these two new doctors also contributed to writing several book chapters entitled ” Agroforestri Khas Pegunungan Nusantara: Jendela Jawa Timur“, a collaboration between Brawijaya University, the World Agroforestry Center (ICRAF), and the Indonesian Network for Agroforestry Education (INAFE), which will be released in the near future.

Before returning to serve at Brawijaya University, Dr. Rika and Dr. Danny accompanied by Prof. Kurniatun Hairiah from the Department of Land and Forestry, Faculty of Agriculture, Brawijaya University, has also held several meetings with researchers from WUR including Dr. Maja Slingerland, Prof. Meine van Noordwijk (Plant Production Systems Group – Department of Plant Sciences) and Dr. Aritta Suwarno (Department of Environmental Sciences) for the process of exploring future research collaboration on Agroforestry between Brawijaya University and Wageningen University and Research. [fp/pon/UB PR/ Trans. Iir]