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Land 2017, 6(2), 32; doi:10.3390/land6020032

Historical Land Use Dynamics in the Highly Degraded Landscape of the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory

Department of Anthropology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
In memoriam.
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Academic Editors: Fabian Löw, Alexander Prishchepov and Florian Schierhorn
Received: 26 January 2017 / Revised: 18 April 2017 / Accepted: 27 April 2017 / Published: 2 May 2017
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Abstract

Processes of land degradation and regeneration display fine scale heterogeneity often intimately linked with land use. Yet, examinations of the relationships between land use and land degradation often lack the resolution necessary to understand how local institutions differentially modulate feedback between individual farmers and the spatially heterogeneous effects of land use on soils. In this paper, we examine an historical example of a transition from agriculture to forest dominated land use (c. 1933–1941) in a highly degraded landscape on the Piedmont of South Carolina. Our landscape-scale approach examines land use and tenure at the level that individuals enact management decisions. We used logistic regression techniques to examine associations between land use, land tenure, topography, and market cost-distance. Our findings suggest that farmer responses to changing market and policy conditions were influenced by topographic characteristics associated with productivity and long-term viability of agricultural land use. Further, although local environmental feedbacks help to explain spatial patterning of land use, property regime and land tenure arrangements also significantly constrained the ability of farmers to adapt to changing socioeconomic and environmental conditions. View Full-Text
Keywords: historical ecology; land use change; land degradation; landscape; logistic regression; land tenure; spatial analysis; reforestation; socioecological dynamics historical ecology; land use change; land degradation; landscape; logistic regression; land tenure; spatial analysis; reforestation; socioecological dynamics
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Coughlan, M.R.; Nelson, D.R.; Lonneman, M.; Block, A.E. Historical Land Use Dynamics in the Highly Degraded Landscape of the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory. Land 2017, 6, 32.

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