Can you see a forest in the palm?

Examination of the relationship between plants, food and materials, based on a case study of coconut plantations in Sumatra, Indonesia.

How a man-made agricultural landscape could enable a better coexistence for all its actors?

Making a link to traditional practices and natural systems the scenario reframes modern agriculture and its socio-ecological impacts by redesigning the plantation structure, as well as providing a way for transformation of its products.

In Riau province rows of monoculture coconut palm stretch infinitely. Large scale agriculture reduces the local ecosystem to a single crop. The industrial processing as well handles only the edible parts of coconut, leaving the fibrous outer shells piling up as waste to be burned.
Rows of palms could be transformed into a more complex environment by mimicking the way ecosystems like forests and tropical homegardens are built. Growing different species together in one community benefits the people and plantation itself. Through design of plants composition it yields diverse foods as well as materials.

A tangible product from a palm forest is examined with experimentation on a material which can be produced on the spot. A biodegradable composite is designed using species cultivated between the palms and other organic matter like discarded husks. It’s purely plant-based and manufactured using heat and pressure. The composition of the material reflects the multispecies structure of the plantation.

Can you see a forest in the palm? from Pola Salicka on Vimeo.

Project info
Pola Salicka