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Land, Volume 3, Issue 3 (September 2014), Pages 541-1213

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Open AccessArticle Land Redistribution and Reutilization in the Context of Migration in Rural Nepal
Land 2014, 3(3), 541-556; doi:10.3390/land3030541
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 17 June 2014 / Accepted: 18 June 2014 / Published: 27 June 2014
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Abstract
Land is an integral part of people’s culture, economy, and livelihoods. Social and temporal mobility of people affect land acquisition, distribution, and utilization, which consequently impacts on food security and human wellbeing. Using the data collected by means of household survey, focus [...] Read more.
Land is an integral part of people’s culture, economy, and livelihoods. Social and temporal mobility of people affect land acquisition, distribution, and utilization, which consequently impacts on food security and human wellbeing. Using the data collected by means of household survey, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, and participant observation, this paper examines the dynamics of land-people relationships, mainly acquisition, redistribution, and reutilization of land, in the context of human migration. The study reveals that food self-sufficiency, household size, age of household head, household asset, total income from non-agricultural sources, and migration status, affect the acquisition or size of landholding in a household. Moreover, land appears to be mobile within and across villages through changes in labour availability, changing access to land, and ethnic interactions caused partly by migration of people. We conclude that mobility of land appears to be an inseparable component of land-people relationships, especially in the context of human migration that offers redistribution and reutilization of land. Full article
Open AccessArticle An Initial Assessment of the Economic Value of Coastal and Freshwater Wetlands in West Asia
Land 2014, 3(3), 557-573; doi:10.3390/land3030557
Received: 26 March 2014 / Revised: 15 June 2014 / Accepted: 16 June 2014 / Published: 27 June 2014
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Abstract
Many countries in West Asia, defined in this study as the Arabic-speaking countries of the Arabian Peninsula plus Turkey and Iran, have enacted environmental conservation laws but regional underlying drivers of environment change, such as rising incomes and fast-growing populations, continue to [...] Read more.
Many countries in West Asia, defined in this study as the Arabic-speaking countries of the Arabian Peninsula plus Turkey and Iran, have enacted environmental conservation laws but regional underlying drivers of environment change, such as rising incomes and fast-growing populations, continue to put pressure on remaining wetlands. This paper aims to inform conservation efforts by presenting the first regional assessment of the economic value of coastal and freshwater wetlands in West Asia. Using scenario analysis we find that, dependent on the discount rate used, the present value of the regional economic loss of not protecting wetlands by 2050 is between US dollar 2.3 billion and US dollar 7.2 billion (expressed in 2007 US dollars). The method used for this assessment, however, is not suitable for expressing national realities adequately. We therefore suggest that detailed localized studies are conducted to improve insight into the drivers and the social and economic effects of wetland loss in West Asia. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
Open AccessArticle Assessing the Quality of Agricultural Landscape Change with Multiple Dimensions
Land 2014, 3(3), 598-616; doi:10.3390/land3030598
Received: 19 December 2013 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 24 June 2014 / Published: 1 July 2014
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Abstract
Better recognition of public perceptions is called for in developing policies that affect landscape qualities, such as agri-environmental policies. The present study focused on the evaluation of typical agricultural landscapes in Finland. We utilized and operationalized the visual landscape quality scales introduced [...] Read more.
Better recognition of public perceptions is called for in developing policies that affect landscape qualities, such as agri-environmental policies. The present study focused on the evaluation of typical agricultural landscapes in Finland. We utilized and operationalized the visual landscape quality scales introduced by Tveit et al. (2006) and further explored how these scales can be applied in citizen evaluation of agricultural landscapes. From landscape data collected via an Internet survey, we analysed whether and how the attributes of agricultural landscapes were linked to their evaluation. The results demonstrated that visual concepts such as openness, naturalness, species richness and the impression of being taken care of were significantly associated with six landscape attributes, i.e., grain, cattle, bales, farmhouses, buses and disturbances. A relationship between key landscape concepts and normative evaluation was found. The normative pleasantness of the landscape also significantly associated with individual landscape attributes and the socio-demographic characteristics of the perceivers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Impacts of Logging Road Networks on Dung Beetles and Small Mammals in a Malaysian Production Forest: Implications for Biodiversity Safeguards
Land 2014, 3(3), 639-657; doi:10.3390/land3030639
Received: 11 March 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
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Abstract
Various international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have proposed guidelines for safeguarding biodiversity. Nevertheless, quantitative criteria for safeguarding biodiversity should first be established to measure the attainment of biodiversity conservation if biodiversity is to be safeguarded effectively. We conducted research on the [...] Read more.
Various international bodies and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have proposed guidelines for safeguarding biodiversity. Nevertheless, quantitative criteria for safeguarding biodiversity should first be established to measure the attainment of biodiversity conservation if biodiversity is to be safeguarded effectively. We conducted research on the impact of logging on biodiversity of dung beetles and small mammals in a production forest in Temengor Forest Reserve, Perak, Malaysia. This was done to develop such quantitative criteria for Malaysian production forests while paying special attention to the effects of road networks, such as skid trails, logging roads, and log yards, on biodiversity. Species assemblages of dung beetles as well as small mammals along and adjacent to road networks were significantly different from those in forest interiors. Therefore, minimizing the road network density will contribute to retaining biodiversity; this will allow us to use road network density as a quantitative criterion for safeguarding biodiversity in production forests. Additionally, road network density is easily measurable and verifiable by remote sensing, which enables us to check the implementation of the criteria. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
Open AccessArticle New Cropland on Former Rangeland and Lost Cropland from Urban Development: The “Replacement Land” Debate
Land 2014, 3(3), 658-674; doi:10.3390/land3030658
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 27 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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Abstract
In this study, a land use/land cover change analysis method was developed to examine patterns of land use/land cover conversions of cropland to urban uses and conversions of rangeland to cropland uses in the United States (US) Midwest region. We used the [...] Read more.
In this study, a land use/land cover change analysis method was developed to examine patterns of land use/land cover conversions of cropland to urban uses and conversions of rangeland to cropland uses in the United States (US) Midwest region. We used the US 2001 and 2006 National Land Cover Datasets (NLCD) for our spatial analyses of these conversion trends. Our analysis showed that the eastern part of the Midwest, like prior periods, continued to experience losses of cropland to urban expansion but at a much more rapid rate, as this was during an expansion phase of the US real estate construction cycle. The period showed a very small net loss of cropland as the loss was being balanced by gains in cropland at the expense of rangeland lost in the western part of the Midwest. We refer to this rangeland to cropland conversion as “replacement land”. We do not suggest by replacement that there is a signal in the system that interconnects the loss of a hectare of cropland to urban land by converting a hectare of rangeland to cropland, rather we highlight this spatial trend as it raises concerns about the environmental sustainability of agriculture in the western part of the region, as production is dependent on the use of irrigation and the already stressed High Plains aquifer. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessArticle Landscape and Local Controls of Insect Biodiversity in Conservation Grasslands: Implications for the Conservation of Ecosystem Service Providers in Agricultural Environments
Land 2014, 3(3), 693-718; doi:10.3390/land3030693
Received: 3 May 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 30 June 2014 / Published: 14 July 2014
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Abstract
The conservation of biodiversity in intensively managed agricultural landscapes depends on the amount and spatial arrangement of cultivated and natural lands. Conservation incentives that create semi-natural grasslands may increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects and their associated ecosystem services, such as pollination [...] Read more.
The conservation of biodiversity in intensively managed agricultural landscapes depends on the amount and spatial arrangement of cultivated and natural lands. Conservation incentives that create semi-natural grasslands may increase the biodiversity of beneficial insects and their associated ecosystem services, such as pollination and the regulation of insect pests, but the effectiveness of these incentives for insect conservation are poorly known, especially in North America. We studied the variation in species richness, composition, and functional-group abundances of bees and predatory beetles in conservation grasslands surrounded by intensively managed agriculture in Southwest Ohio, USA. Characteristics of grassland patches and surrounding land-cover types were used to predict insect species richness, composition, and functional-group abundance using linear models and multivariate ordinations. Bee species richness was positively influenced by forb cover and beetle richness was positively related to grass cover; both taxa had greater richness in grasslands surrounded by larger amounts of semi-natural land cover. Functional groups of bees and predatory beetles defined by body size and sociality varied in their abundance according to differences in plant composition of grassland patches, as well as the surrounding land-cover diversity. Intensive agriculture in the surrounding landscape acted as a filter to both bee and beetle species composition in conservation grasslands. Our results support the need for management incentives to consider landscape-level processes in the conservation of biodiversity and ecosystem services. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Spatially-Explicit Simulation of Urban Growth through Self-Adaptive Genetic Algorithm and Cellular Automata Modelling
Land 2014, 3(3), 719-738; doi:10.3390/land3030719
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
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Abstract
This paper presents a method to optimise the calibration of parameters and land use transition rules of a cellular automata (CA) urban growth model using a self-adaptive genetic algorithm (SAGA). Optimal calibration is achieved through an algorithm that minimises the difference between [...] Read more.
This paper presents a method to optimise the calibration of parameters and land use transition rules of a cellular automata (CA) urban growth model using a self-adaptive genetic algorithm (SAGA). Optimal calibration is achieved through an algorithm that minimises the difference between the simulated and observed urban growth. The model was applied to simulate land use change from non-urban to urban in South East Queensland’s Logan City, Australia, from 1991 to 2001. The performance of the calibrated model was evaluated by comparing the empirical land use change maps from the Landsat imagery to the simulated land use change produced by the calibrated model. The simulation accuracies of the model show that the calibrated model generated 86.3% correctness, mostly due to observed persistence being simulated as persistence and some due to observed change being simulated as change. The 13.7% simulation error was due to nearly equal amounts of observed persistence being simulated as change (7.5%) and observed change being simulated as persistence (6.2%). Both the SAGA-CA model and a logistic-based CA model without SAGA optimisation have simulated more change than the amount of observed change over the simulation period; however, the overestimation is slightly more severe for the logistic-CA model. The SAGA-CA model also outperforms the logistic-CA model with fewer quantity and allocation errors and slightly more hits. For Logan City, the most important factors driving urban growth are the spatial proximity to existing urban centres, roads and railway stations. However, the probability of a place being urbanised is lower when people are attracted to work in other regions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessArticle Modeling Soil and Woody Vegetation in the Senegalese Sahel in the Context of Environmental Change
Land 2014, 3(3), 770-792; doi:10.3390/land3030770
Received: 7 March 2014 / Revised: 2 July 2014 / Accepted: 9 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
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Abstract
Climatic stress and anthropogenic disturbances have caused significant environmental changes in the Sahel. In this context, the importance of soil is often underrepresented. Thus, we analyze and discuss the interdependency of soil and vegetation by classifying soil types and its woody cover [...] Read more.
Climatic stress and anthropogenic disturbances have caused significant environmental changes in the Sahel. In this context, the importance of soil is often underrepresented. Thus, we analyze and discuss the interdependency of soil and vegetation by classifying soil types and its woody cover for a region in the Senegalese Ferlo. Clustering of 28 soil parameters led to four soil types which correspond with local Wolof denotations: Dek, Bowel, Dior and Bardial. The soil types were confirmed by a Non-metric Multidimensional-Scaling (NMDS) ordination and extrapolated via a Random Forest classifier using six significant variables derived from Landsat imagery and a digital elevation model (out-of-bag error rate: 7.3%). In addition, canopy cover was modeled using Landsat and a Reduced-Major-Axis (RMA) regression (R2 = 0.81). A woody vegetation survey showed that every soil type has its own species composition. However, 29% of Bowel regions are deforested (i.e., degraded) and interviews revealed extensive environmental changes and a strong decline and local extinction of woody species. The differences between the soil types are significant, showing that vegetation changes (i.e., degradation and greening), resilience to climatic stress and human activities largely depend on soil properties. We highlight that spatial heterogeneity is an important aspect when dealing with environmental changes in the Sahel, and local knowledge can be well used to classify spatial units by means of public Earth observation data. Full article
Open AccessArticle A Resilience-Based Approach to the Conservation of Valley Oak in a Southern California Landscape
Land 2014, 3(3), 834-849; doi:10.3390/land3030834
Received: 21 April 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
Conservation thinking will benefit from the incorporation of a resilience perspective of landscapes as social-ecological systems that are continually changing due to both internal dynamics and in response to external factors such as a changing climate. The examination of two valley oak stands [...] Read more.
Conservation thinking will benefit from the incorporation of a resilience perspective of landscapes as social-ecological systems that are continually changing due to both internal dynamics and in response to external factors such as a changing climate. The examination of two valley oak stands in Southern California provides an example of the necessity of this systems perspective where each stand is responding differently as a result of interactions with other parts of the landscape. One stand is experiencing regeneration failure similar to other stands across the state, and is exhibiting shifts in spatial pattern as a response to changing conditions. A nearby stand is regenerating well and maintaining spatial and structural patterns, likely due to the availability of imported water associated with upstream urban development. Valley oak stands have a capacity for reorganization as a response to changes in the landscape and environmental conditions. This reorganization can benefit conservation efforts; however, we must ask what limits there are to valley oak’s capacity to reorganize and still maintain its ecological function in face of increasing changes in climate and land cover. The usefulness of resilience as a concept in conservation is discussed at several scales from the stand to the landscape. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessArticle Comparing Path Dependence and Spatial Targeting of Land Use in Implementing Climate Change Responses
Land 2014, 3(3), 850-873; doi:10.3390/land3030850
Received: 8 May 2014 / Revised: 14 June 2014 / Accepted: 15 July 2014 / Published: 23 July 2014
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Abstract
Land use patterns are the consequence of dynamic processes that often include important legacy issues. Evaluation of past trends can be used to investigate the role of path dependence in influencing future land use through a reference “business as usual” (BAU) scenario. [...] Read more.
Land use patterns are the consequence of dynamic processes that often include important legacy issues. Evaluation of past trends can be used to investigate the role of path dependence in influencing future land use through a reference “business as usual” (BAU) scenario. These issues are explored with regard to objectives for woodland expansion in Scotland as a major pillar of climate change policy. Land use changes based upon recent trends and future transient scenarios to 2050 are used to assess viability of targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions using analysis based on net emission change factors. The BAU scenario is compared with alternative future scenarios incorporating policy targets and stronger spatial targeting of land use change. Analysis highlights recent trends in new woodland planting on lower quality agricultural land due to socioeconomic and cultural factors. This land is mainly in the wetter uplands and often on carbon-rich soils. Woodland planting following this path dependence can therefore result in net carbon emissions for many years into the future due to soil disturbance during establishment. In contrast, alternative scenarios with more lowland woodland planting have net sequestration potential, with greatest benefits when carbon-rich soils are excluded from afforestation. Spatial targeting can also enhance other co-benefits such as habitat networks and climate change adaptation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)
Open AccessArticle Integrating Land Cover Modeling and Adaptive Management to Conserve Endangered Species and Reduce Catastrophic Fire Risk
Land 2014, 3(3), 874-897; doi:10.3390/land3030874
Received: 2 May 2014 / Revised: 3 July 2014 / Accepted: 10 July 2014 / Published: 24 July 2014
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Abstract
Land cover modeling is used to inform land management, but most often via a two-step process, where science informs how management alternatives can influence resources, and then, decision makers can use this information to make decisions. A more efficient process is to [...] Read more.
Land cover modeling is used to inform land management, but most often via a two-step process, where science informs how management alternatives can influence resources, and then, decision makers can use this information to make decisions. A more efficient process is to directly integrate science and decision-making, where science allows us to learn in order to better accomplish management objectives and is developed to address specific decisions. Co-development of management and science is especially productive when decisions are complicated by multiple objectives and impeded by uncertainty. Multiple objectives can be met by the specification of tradeoffs, and relevant uncertainty can be addressed through targeted science (i.e., models and monitoring). We describe how to integrate habitat and fuel monitoring with decision-making focused on the dual objectives of managing for endangered species and minimizing catastrophic fire risk. Under certain conditions, both objectives might be achieved by a similar management policy; other conditions require tradeoffs between objectives. Knowledge about system responses to actions can be informed by developing hypotheses based on ideas about fire behavior and then applying competing management actions to different land units in the same system state. Monitoring and management integration is important to optimize state-specific management decisions and to increase knowledge about system responses. We believe this approach has broad utility and identifies a clear role for land cover modeling programs intended to inform decision-making. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessArticle The Positive Feedback Loop between the Impacts of Climate Change and Agricultural Expansion and Relocation
Land 2014, 3(3), 898-916; doi:10.3390/land3030898
Received: 9 May 2014 / Revised: 30 June 2014 / Accepted: 12 July 2014 / Published: 25 July 2014
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Abstract
Climate change and agriculture influence each other. The effects of climate change on agriculture seem to be predominantly negative, although studies show a large variation in impacts between crops and regions. To compensate for these effects, agriculture can either intensify or expand [...] Read more.
Climate change and agriculture influence each other. The effects of climate change on agriculture seem to be predominantly negative, although studies show a large variation in impacts between crops and regions. To compensate for these effects, agriculture can either intensify or expand in area; both of these options increase greenhouse gas emissions. It is therefore likely that such negative effects will increase agriculture’s contribution to climate change, making this feedback a positive, self-reinforcing one. We have previously used a data-driven model to examine greenhouse gas emissions in 2050 related to agricultural scenarios of increasing demand for food. Here, we extend this approach by introducing the impacts of climate change on agricultural yields. We estimate the additional losses of natural habitats and increases in greenhouse gas emissions resulting from agricultural expansion and relocation induced by the negative effects of climate change. We studied two climate change scenarios and different assumptions about trade. These additional impacts caused by climate change are found to be relatively moderate compared to demand-driven impact, but still significant. They increase greenhouse gas emissions from land use change by an additional 8%–13%. Climate change tends to aggravate the effects of demand drivers in critical regions. Current emission scenarios are underestimates in that they do not include these feedback effects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)
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Open AccessArticle Adaptation to New Climate by an Old Strategy? Modeling Sedentary and Mobile Pastoralism in Semi-Arid Morocco
Land 2014, 3(3), 917-940; doi:10.3390/land3030917
Received: 24 April 2014 / Revised: 4 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 31 July 2014
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Abstract
In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. [...] Read more.
In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. The land use decision model integrates a meta-model of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) simulator to depict perennial and annual forage plant development. It also includes livestock dynamics and forward-looking decision making under uncertain weather. Mobile livestock in the model moves seasonally, sedentary livestock is restricted to pastures around settlements. For a reduction of MAP by 20%, our model shows for different experimental frequencies of droughts a significant decrease of total income from pastoralism by 8%–19% (p < 0.05). Looking separately at the two modes of pastoralism, pronounced income losses of 18%–44% (p < 0.05) show that sedentary pastoralism is much more vulnerable to dryer climate than mobile pastoralism, which is merely affected. Dedicating more pasture area and high quality fodder to mobile pastoralism significantly abates impacts from reduced MAP and droughts on total income by 11% (p < 0.05). Our results indicate that promotion of mobile pastoralism in semi-arid areas is a valuable option to increase resilience against climate change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessArticle Mapping Urban Transitions in the Greater Beirut Area Using Different Space Platforms
Land 2014, 3(3), 941-956; doi:10.3390/land3030941
Received: 5 May 2014 / Revised: 16 July 2014 / Accepted: 22 July 2014 / Published: 4 August 2014
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Abstract
A particular challenge for undertaking urbanization mapping of Beirut is the absence of a unified understanding of the city. Migration, informal settlements, a lack of urban planning, political corruption, as well as internal conflict have made this task even harder. The population in [...] Read more.
A particular challenge for undertaking urbanization mapping of Beirut is the absence of a unified understanding of the city. Migration, informal settlements, a lack of urban planning, political corruption, as well as internal conflict have made this task even harder. The population in Lebanon is unevenly distributed among regions, where one third of the population resides in the Greater Beirut Area (GBA), whereas it occupies only 233 km2 (2% of Lebanon’s total area). The Greater Beirut Area is subject to pressures arising from population growth and economic expansion. This study aims to follow the evolution of urbanization from 1963 till 2005 by processing and interpreting topographical maps and satellite images acquired by different space platforms. Satellite imagery change analysis shows that average annual urban growth surpassed 1.8 km2∙yr−1. Actually, a variety of factors triggers urban growth in the GBA (i.e., transportation, public policies, economic activities and environmental variables). The logistic regression method has been applied to model future urban growth in the region of Greater Beirut. Consequently, an urban growth scenario map has been generated. To validate our results, we compared an urban map derived from RapidEye satellite acquired in 2010 to our model’s outcome of the same year. The output shows a satisfactory rate of success (~61%). This research aims to provide policy makers and urban planners in Lebanon an essential decision tool to support upcoming urban planning in this study area or in others major cities in Lebanon. Full article
Open AccessArticle Driving Forces in Archetypical Land-Use Changes in a Mountainous Watershed in East Asia
Land 2014, 3(3), 957-980; doi:10.3390/land3030957
Received: 5 June 2014 / Revised: 22 July 2014 / Accepted: 4 August 2014 / Published: 13 August 2014
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Abstract
Identifying patterns and drivers of regional land use changes is crucial for supporting land management and planning. Doing so for mountain ecosystems in East Asia, such as the So-yang River Basin in South Korea, has until now been a challenge because of [...] Read more.
Identifying patterns and drivers of regional land use changes is crucial for supporting land management and planning. Doing so for mountain ecosystems in East Asia, such as the So-yang River Basin in South Korea, has until now been a challenge because of extreme social and ecological complexities. Applying the techniques of geographic information systems (GIS) and statistical modeling via multinomial logistic regression (MNL), we attempted to examine various hypothesized drivers of land use changes, over the period 1980 to 2000. The hypothesized drivers included variables of topography, accessibility, spatial zoning policies and neighboring land use. Before the inferential statistic analyses, we identified the optimal neighborhood extents for each land use type. The two archetypical sub-periods, i.e., 1980–1990 with agricultural expansions and 1990–2000 with reforestation, have similar causal drivers, such as topographic factors, which are related to characteristics of mountainous areas, neighborhood land use, and spatial zoning policies, of land use changes. Since the statistical models robustly capture the mutual effects of biophysical heterogeneity, neighborhood characteristics and spatial zoning regulation on long-term land use changes, they are valuable for developing coupled models of social-ecological systems to simulate land use and dependent ecosystem services, and to support sustainable land management. Full article
Open AccessArticle Evolution of Land Use in the Brazilian Amazon: From Frontier Expansion to Market Chain Dynamics
Land 2014, 3(3), 981-1014; doi:10.3390/land3030981
Received: 31 December 2013 / Revised: 30 July 2014 / Accepted: 7 August 2014 / Published: 19 August 2014
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Abstract
Agricultural census data and fieldwork observations are used to analyze changes in land cover/use intensity across Rondônia and Mato Grosso states along the agricultural frontier in the Brazilian Amazon. Results show that the development of land use is strongly related to land [...] Read more.
Agricultural census data and fieldwork observations are used to analyze changes in land cover/use intensity across Rondônia and Mato Grosso states along the agricultural frontier in the Brazilian Amazon. Results show that the development of land use is strongly related to land distribution structure. While large farms have increased their share of annual and perennial crops, small and medium size farms have strongly contributed to the development of beef and milk market chains in both Rondônia and Mato Grosso. Land use intensification has occurred in the form of increased use of machinery, labor in agriculture and stocking rates of cattle herds. Regional and national demands have improved infrastructure and productivity. The data presented show that the distinct pathways of land use development are related to accessibility to markets and processing industry as well as to the agricultural colonization history of the region. The data analyzed do not provide any indication of frontier stagnation, i.e., the slowdown of agricultural expansion, in the Brazilian Amazon. Instead of frontier stagnation, the data analyzed indicate that intensification processes in consolidated areas as well as recent agricultural expansion into forest areas are able to explain the cycle of expansion and retraction of the agricultural frontier into the Amazon region. The evolution of land use is useful for scenario analysis of both land cover change and land use intensification and provides insights into the role of market development and policies on land use. Full article
Open AccessArticle Investigation of the Dominant Factors Influencing the ERA15 Temperature Increments at the Subtropical and Temperate Belts with a Focus over the Eastern Mediterranean Region
Land 2014, 3(3), 1015-1036; doi:10.3390/land3031015
Received: 19 March 2014 / Revised: 5 August 2014 / Accepted: 12 August 2014 / Published: 22 August 2014
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Abstract
A stepwise multi regression-based statistics was employed for prioritizing the influence of several factors, anthropogenic and/or natural, on the ERA15 temperature increments. The 5 factors that are defined as predictors are: topography, aerosol index (TOMS-AI), tropospheric vertical velocity along with two anthropogenic [...] Read more.
A stepwise multi regression-based statistics was employed for prioritizing the influence of several factors, anthropogenic and/or natural, on the ERA15 temperature increments. The 5 factors that are defined as predictors are: topography, aerosol index (TOMS-AI), tropospheric vertical velocity along with two anthropogenic factors, population density and land use changes (Land Use Change Index (LUCI) and Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) trends). The seismic hazard assessment factor was also chosen as the “dummy variable” for validity. Special focus was given to the land use change factor, which was based on two different data sets; Human Impacts on Terrestrial Ecosystems (HITE) data of historical land use/land cover data and of NDVI trends during 1982 and 1991. The increment analysis updates of temperature, increments analysis update (IAU) (T), the predicted variable, was obtained from the ERA15 (1979–1993) reanalysis. The research consists of both spatial and vertical analyses, as well as the potential synergies of selected variables. The spatial geographic analysis is divided into three categories; (1) coarse region; (2) subregion analysis; and (c) a “small cell” of 4° × 4° analysis covering the global domain. It is shown that the following three factors, topography, TOMS-AI and NDVI, are statistically significant (at the p < 0.05 level) in the relationship with the IAU (T), which means that they are the most effective predictors of IAU (T), especially at the 700-hPa level during March–June. The 850-hPa level presents the weakest contribution to IAU (T), probably due to the contradicting influences of the various variables at this level. It was found that the land use effect, as expressed by the NDVI trends factor, shows a strong decrease with height and is one of the most influential near-surface factors over the East Mediterranean (EM), which explains up to 20% of the temperature increments in January at 700 hPa. Moreover, its influence is significant (p < 0.05) through all of the different stages of the multiple regression runs, a major finding not quantified earlier. The choice of monthly means was found to be not optimal, particularly for the tropospheric vertical velocity, due to the averaging of the synoptic systems within a month. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)
Open AccessArticle Creating Social Safeguards for REDD+: Lessons Learned from Benefit Sharing Mechanisms in Vietnam
Land 2014, 3(3), 1037-1058; doi:10.3390/land3031037
Received: 3 June 2014 / Revised: 31 July 2014 / Accepted: 8 August 2014 / Published: 22 August 2014
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Abstract
Currently, many studies on benefit sharing mechanisms (BSM) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) focus on poverty alleviation and livelihood development. However, relatively few studies incorporate an integrated livelihood framework. This study employs the sustainable livelihoods framework to [...] Read more.
Currently, many studies on benefit sharing mechanisms (BSM) and the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation programme (REDD+) focus on poverty alleviation and livelihood development. However, relatively few studies incorporate an integrated livelihood framework. This study employs the sustainable livelihoods framework to assess the impact of BSM in Vietnam. The lessons learned could be used in creating social safeguards for REDD+. The communities in Central Vietnam involved in BSM were impacted by the programme on various dimensions. These dimensions, expressed in different types of capital, are interconnected and contribute to a person’s well-being. While the communities have restricted access to their natural forests, they benefited in terms of income diversification, knowledge improvement and network expansion. On the other hand, they faced food insecurity, they were more vulnerable to natural hazards, and their human, social and cultural capital faced risk of deterioration. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
Open AccessArticle Economic Valuation of Land Uses in Oudomxay Province, Lao PDR: Can REDD+ be Effective in Maintaining Forests?
Land 2014, 3(3), 1059-1074; doi:10.3390/land3031059
Received: 31 March 2014 / Revised: 8 August 2014 / Accepted: 18 August 2014 / Published: 1 September 2014
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Abstract
The rapid economic growth in Lao PDR over the last two decades has been driven by the natural resource sectors and commercialization in the agriculture sector. Rural landscapes are being transformed over the past decade from land use mosaics of subsistence and [...] Read more.
The rapid economic growth in Lao PDR over the last two decades has been driven by the natural resource sectors and commercialization in the agriculture sector. Rural landscapes are being transformed over the past decade from land use mosaics of subsistence and smallholder farms to large-scale plantations dominated by a few commercial crops. The capacity of these commercial agriculture plantations to alleviate rural poverty, part of the Government of Lao PDR’s national development policy, is increasingly weighed against its long-term impacts on ecosystem services and sustainability of land and forest resources. We used an extended cost-benefit approach (CBA) to integrate certain environmental elements to traditional financial analysis for a comparative look at four land use systems in the northern part of the country. The CBA results demonstrate that commercial agriculture (maize and rubber plantations) does have the potential to support poverty alleviation in the short-run. It, however, exposes the land to serious environmental risks. By comparison, the traditional land uses studied (upland rice farming and non-timber forest products collecting) are largely subsistence activities that are still considered as sustainable, though this is increasingly affected by changing market and population dynamics. The results suggest that longer-term environmental costs can potentially cancel out short-term gains from the commercialization to mono-crop agriculture. Incentives for conserving ecosystem services (such as the Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD+) mechanism) may have a potential role in supporting diversification of traditional livelihoods and increasing the competitiveness of maintaining forests. Full article
Open AccessArticle The Re-Greening of the Sahel: Natural Cyclicity or Human-Induced Change?
Land 2014, 3(3), 1075-1090; doi:10.3390/land3031075
Received: 20 February 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 22 August 2014 / Published: 3 September 2014
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Abstract
The Sahel has been the focus of scientific interest in environmental-human dynamics and interactions. The objective of the present study is to contribute to the recent debate on the re-greening of Sahel. The paper examines the dynamics of barren land in the Sahel [...] Read more.
The Sahel has been the focus of scientific interest in environmental-human dynamics and interactions. The objective of the present study is to contribute to the recent debate on the re-greening of Sahel. The paper examines the dynamics of barren land in the Sahel of Burkina Faso through analysis of remotely-sensed and rainfall data from 1975–2011. Discussions with farmers and land management staff have helped to understand the anthropogenic efforts toward soil restoration to enable the subsistence farming agriculture. Results showed that area of barren land has been fluctuating during the study period with approximately 10-year cyclicity. Similarly, rainfall, both at national and local levels has followed the same trends. The trends of the area of barren land and rainfall variability suggest that when rainfall increases, the area of barren land decreases and barren land increases when rainfall decreases. This implies that rainfall is one of the main factors driving the change in area of barren land. In addition, humans have contributed positively and negatively to the change by restoring barren lands for agriculture using locally known techniques and by accelerating land degradation through intensive and inappropriate land use practices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)
Figures

Open AccessArticle Landscape Fire, Biodiversity Decline and a Rapidly Changing Milieu: A Microcosm of Global Issues in an Australian Biodiversity Hotspot
Land 2014, 3(3), 1091-1136; doi:10.3390/land3031091
Received: 25 June 2014 / Revised: 27 August 2014 / Accepted: 28 August 2014 / Published: 9 September 2014
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Abstract
The Adelaide-Mt Lofty Region of South Australia is an exemplar, in microcosm, of the issues confronting biodiversity conservation in a world of increasing population and a drying, fire-prone environment. At just 0.1% of Australia’s terrestrial land mass, this area is largely peninsular [...] Read more.
The Adelaide-Mt Lofty Region of South Australia is an exemplar, in microcosm, of the issues confronting biodiversity conservation in a world of increasing population and a drying, fire-prone environment. At just 0.1% of Australia’s terrestrial land mass, this area is largely peninsular and oriented along a spine of ranges to 730-m elevation. Annual average rainfall varies from over 1100 mm in the hills to less than 500 mm on the plains in the north. The original vegetation varied from grasslands to shrublands to grassy and shrubby woodlands to forests, but now includes a major capital city and a mixed farming hinterland. Biodiversity in the region is in decline, and many species’ extinctions have been recorded. With increasing population and a drying climate, fire antecedents, like ignition and fire danger, are predicted to increase the area burned in the wetter regions, but such predictions may be offset by increasing the fire protection of the expanding population and their economic and social assets. While the existing system of many small reserves will remain the backbone of biodiversity conservation in the region, wider recognition of the all-tenure, whole-of-landscape, whole-of-community approach to biodiversity conservation and fire management is needed if the probability of further extinctions is to be reduced. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Ecosystem Function and Land Use Change)
Open AccessArticle Fuelwood Savings and Carbon Emission Reductions by the Use of Improved Cooking Stoves in an Afromontane Forest, Ethiopia
Land 2014, 3(3), 1137-1157; doi:10.3390/land3031137
Received: 29 June 2014 / Revised: 21 August 2014 / Accepted: 29 August 2014 / Published: 16 September 2014
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Abstract
In many Sub-Saharan African countries, fuelwood collection is among the most important drivers of deforestation and particularly forest degradation. In a detailed field study in the Kafa region of southern Ethiopia, we assessed the potential of efficient cooking stoves to mitigate the [...] Read more.
In many Sub-Saharan African countries, fuelwood collection is among the most important drivers of deforestation and particularly forest degradation. In a detailed field study in the Kafa region of southern Ethiopia, we assessed the potential of efficient cooking stoves to mitigate the negative impacts of fuelwood harvesting on forests. Eleven thousand improved cooking stoves (ICS), specifically designed for baking Ethiopia’s staple food injera, referred to locally as “Mirt” stoves, have been distributed here. We found a high acceptance rate of the stove. One hundred forty interviews, including users and non-users of the ICS, revealed fuelwood savings of nearly 40% in injera preparation compared to the traditional three-stone fire, leading to a total annual savings of 1.28 tons of fuelwood per household. Considering the approximated share of fuelwood from unsustainable sources, these savings translate to 11,800 tons of CO2 saved for 11,156 disseminated ICS, corresponding to the amount of carbon stored in over 30 ha of local forest. We further found that stove efficiency increased with longer injera baking sessions, which shows a way of optimizing fuelwood savings by adapted usage of ICS. Our study confirms that efficient cooking stoves, if well adapted to the local cooking habits, can make a significant contribution to the conservation of forests and the avoidance of carbon emission from forest clearing and degradation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Carbon Emission Reductions and Removals in Tropical Forests)
Open AccessArticle Calibrating and Validating a Simulation Model to Identify Drivers of Urban Land Cover Change in the Baltimore, MD Metropolitan Region
Land 2014, 3(3), 1158-1179; doi:10.3390/land3031158
Received: 31 July 2014 / Revised: 23 August 2014 / Accepted: 27 August 2014 / Published: 17 September 2014
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Abstract
We build upon much of the accumulated knowledge of the widely used SLEUTH urban land change model and offer advances. First, we use SLEUTH’s exclusion/attraction layer to identify and test different urban land cover change drivers; second, we leverage SLEUTH’s self-modification capability [...] Read more.
We build upon much of the accumulated knowledge of the widely used SLEUTH urban land change model and offer advances. First, we use SLEUTH’s exclusion/attraction layer to identify and test different urban land cover change drivers; second, we leverage SLEUTH’s self-modification capability to incorporate a demographic model; and third, we develop a validation procedure to quantify the influence of land cover change drivers and assess uncertainty. We found that, contrary to our a priori expectations, new development is not attracted to areas serviced by existing or planned water and sewer infrastructure. However, information about where population and employment growth is likely to occur did improve model performance. These findings point to the dominant role of centrifugal forces in post-industrial cities like Baltimore, MD. We successfully developed a demographic model that allowed us to constrain the SLEUTH model forecasts and address uncertainty related to the dynamic relationship between changes in population and employment and urban land use. Finally, we emphasize the importance of model validation. In this work the validation procedure played a key role in rigorously assessing the impacts of different exclusion/attraction layers and in assessing uncertainty related to population and employment forecasts. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessArticle Regional Development Scenario Evaluation through Land Use Modelling and Opportunity Mapping
Land 2014, 3(3), 1180-1213; doi:10.3390/land3031180
Received: 21 March 2014 / Revised: 5 August 2014 / Accepted: 5 September 2014 / Published: 19 September 2014
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Abstract
In the context of sustainable urban development, the application of selected indicators integrated with scenario simulation and analysis can contribute to evidence-based decision making. This paper discusses the application of land use modelling and opportunity mapping approaches to evaluate regional development scenarios [...] Read more.
In the context of sustainable urban development, the application of selected indicators integrated with scenario simulation and analysis can contribute to evidence-based decision making. This paper discusses the application of land use modelling and opportunity mapping approaches to evaluate regional development scenarios for the Greater Dublin Region in the period to 2026 evolving from research initially developed with the Dublin Regional Authority. This involved the simulation of four different future regional development scenarios using an adapted version of the MOLAND model with opportunity maps based on combined spatial indicators corresponding to these scenarios. The results produce valuable information for policy makers and planners assisting the evaluation of the consequences of their decisions in both a spatial and temporal context. This paper aims to show how current and future planning and economic policy can make targeted and evidence-based policy interventions and achieve resource efficiencies through the use of scenario analysis. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)

Review

Jump to: Research, Other

Open AccessReview The Fall and Rise Again of Plantations in Tropical Asia: History Repeated?
Land 2014, 3(3), 574-597; doi:10.3390/land3030574
Received: 21 January 2014 / Revised: 18 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 30 June 2014
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Abstract
The type of agrarian structure employed to produce tropical commodities affects many dimensions of land use, such as ownership inequality, overlapping land rights and conflicts, and land use changes. I conduct a literature review of historical changes in agrarian structures of commodities [...] Read more.
The type of agrarian structure employed to produce tropical commodities affects many dimensions of land use, such as ownership inequality, overlapping land rights and conflicts, and land use changes. I conduct a literature review of historical changes in agrarian structures of commodities grown on the upland frontier of mainland Southeast and South Asia, using a case study approach, of tea, rubber, oil palm and cassava. Although the production of all these commodities was initiated in the colonial period on large plantations, over the course of the 20th century, most transited to smallholder systems. Two groups of factors are posited to explain this evolution. First, economic fundamentals related to processing methods and pioneering costs and risks sometimes favored large-scale plantations. Second, policy biases and development paradigms often strongly favored plantations and discriminated against smallholders in the colonial states, especially provision of cheap land and labor. However, beginning after World War I and accelerating after independence, the factors that propped up plantations changed so that by the end of the 20th century, smallholders overwhelmingly dominated perennial crop exports, except possibly oil palm. Surprisingly, in the 21st century there has been a resurgence of investments in plantation agriculture in the frontier countries of Cambodia, Laos and Myanmar, driven by very similar factors to a century ago, especially access to cheap land combined with high commodity prices. As in the last century, this may be a temporary aberration from the long-run trend toward smallholders, but much depends on local political economy. Full article
Open AccessReview Monitoring Forest Change in Landscapes Under-Going Rapid Energy Development: Challenges and New Perspectives
Land 2014, 3(3), 617-638; doi:10.3390/land3030617
Received: 30 April 2014 / Revised: 19 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 2 July 2014
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Abstract
The accelerated development of energy resources around the world has substantially increased forest change related to oil and gas activities. In some cases, oil and gas activities are the primary catalyst of land-use change in forested landscapes. We discuss the challenges associated [...] Read more.
The accelerated development of energy resources around the world has substantially increased forest change related to oil and gas activities. In some cases, oil and gas activities are the primary catalyst of land-use change in forested landscapes. We discuss the challenges associated with characterizing ecological change related to energy resource development using North America as an exemplar. We synthesize the major impacts of energy development to forested ecosystems and offer new perspectives on how to detect and monitor anthropogenic disturbance during the Anthropocene. The disturbance of North American forests for energy development has resulted in persistent linear corridors, suppression of historical disturbance regimes, novel ecosystems, and the eradication of ecological memory. Characterizing anthropogenic disturbances using conventional patch-based disturbance measures will tend to underestimate the ecological impacts of energy development. Suitable indicators of anthropogenic impacts in forests should be derived from the integration of multi-scalar Earth observations. Relating these indicators to ecosystem condition will be a capstone in the progress toward monitoring forest change in landscapes undergoing rapid energy development. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Change Modeling: Connecting to the Bigger Picture)
Open AccessReview Ecologies of Scale: Multifunctionality Connects Conservation and Agriculture across Fields, Farms, and Landscapes
Land 2014, 3(3), 739-769; doi:10.3390/land3030739
Received: 16 May 2014 / Revised: 10 July 2014 / Accepted: 14 July 2014 / Published: 18 July 2014
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Abstract
Agroecology and landscape ecology are two land-use sciences based on ecological principles, but have historically focused on fine and broad spatial scales, respectively. As global demand for food strains current resources and threatens biodiversity conservation, concepts such as multifunctional landscapes and ecologically-analogous [...] Read more.
Agroecology and landscape ecology are two land-use sciences based on ecological principles, but have historically focused on fine and broad spatial scales, respectively. As global demand for food strains current resources and threatens biodiversity conservation, concepts such as multifunctional landscapes and ecologically-analogous agroecosystems integrate ecological concepts across multiple spatial scales. This paper reviews ecological principles behind several concepts crucial to the reconciliation of food production and biodiversity conservation, including relationships between biodiversity and ecosystem functions such as productivity and stability; insect pest and pollinator management; integrated crop and livestock systems; countryside biogeography and heterogeneity-based rangeland management. Ecological principles are integrated across three spatial scales: fields, farms, and landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
Open AccessReview Climate–Human–Land Interactions: A Review of Major Modelling Approaches
Land 2014, 3(3), 793-833; doi:10.3390/land3030793
Received: 5 April 2014 / Revised: 14 May 2014 / Accepted: 8 July 2014 / Published: 22 July 2014
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (794 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
International agreements on climate change have highlighted the role of land in climate and human dynamics, making it an issue of global importance. The modelling of land-related processes, sectors, and activities has recently become a central topic in economic and policy theory, [...] Read more.
International agreements on climate change have highlighted the role of land in climate and human dynamics, making it an issue of global importance. The modelling of land-related processes, sectors, and activities has recently become a central topic in economic and policy theory, as well as within environmental sciences. Modelling strategies have been improved and new datasets have come into light for land-cover and land-use change analysis. However, unexpected human behavior and natural constraints challenge the modelling of interdependences and feedback mechanisms amongst economies, societies, and the environment, resulting from land-use and cover change. This paper provides a detailed overview of the most representative and advanced methods and models developed to represent climate–human–land interactions. It offers a critical discussion about relevant methodological aspects, missing knowledge, and areas for future research. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Change Feedbacks with Climate)

Other

Jump to: Research, Review

Open AccessConcept Paper Incorporation of Socio-Cultural Values in Damage Assessment Valuations of Contaminated Lands in the Niger Delta
Land 2014, 3(3), 675-692; doi:10.3390/land3030675
Received: 25 February 2014 / Revised: 23 June 2014 / Accepted: 23 June 2014 / Published: 9 July 2014
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Abstract
Damages on contaminated land have been mostly assessed for developments subsisting on the land, neglecting the goods and services derived from the land which possess only socio-cultural values. This paper aims to ascertain the importance of socio-cultural values in the total economic [...] Read more.
Damages on contaminated land have been mostly assessed for developments subsisting on the land, neglecting the goods and services derived from the land which possess only socio-cultural values. This paper aims to ascertain the importance of socio-cultural values in the total economic value of contaminated land, drawing from the experience of a coastal community oil spillage in the Niger Delta. The paper examines what constitutes a valuable interest on contaminated land and how socio-cultural factors are valued in the damage assessment process. After reviewing the literature and decided cases, a questionnaire survey was conducted and a sample valuation report was analysed. It is concluded that there exists a socio-cultural interest on contaminated land which professional valuers do not reflect in damage assessment claims. It is recommended that any comprehensive damage assessment requires the incorporation of socio-cultural values in the valuations. Full article

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