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Land, Volume 7, Issue 2 (June 2018)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) Between 2004 and 2011, three large Vietnamese-owned rubber concessions (10,000 hectares each) were [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle Pastoral Resilience among the Maasai Pastoralists of Laikipia County, Kenya
Received: 11 May 2018 / Revised: 11 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 19 June 2018
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Abstract
This paper addresses pastoral resilience by drawing out the coping strategies and mechanisms utilized by the Maasai Pastoralists through a food system approach, based on the study findings of an anthropological study of pastoralism as a food system in Laikipia County, Rift Valley,
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This paper addresses pastoral resilience by drawing out the coping strategies and mechanisms utilized by the Maasai Pastoralists through a food system approach, based on the study findings of an anthropological study of pastoralism as a food system in Laikipia County, Rift Valley, Kenya. The co-existence and interactions of pastoralism as a food system with other types of food systems in Laikipia, such as large-scale horticulture, justified the selection of the study site. This paper is guided by the specific objectives aimed at establishing actors and their roles, and describing the institutional settings and changes that sustain the continued practice of pastoralism. Using a new institutionalism approach, the paper focuses not only on the actors and their roles but also on how internal and external forces regulate access and use of common pool resources (CPRs) resulting in food sustainability within the food system amidst climatic challenges and cyclic humanitarian crises. We argue that this has an impact on the food system that continually defines and redefines the actors’ roles and institutional settings and changes (formal and informal rules, regulations, values and norms) that in turn affirm the value of pastoral economies and benefits accrued to a wide range of actors beyond the community and leading to pastoral resilience. Data collected through in-depth interviews amongst pastoral households identified actors and their roles in pastoralism in the household with a total of 50 households being conveniently sampled. Key informant interviews with key stakeholders in the food system described the institutional settings and changes and also identified actors and their roles in pastoralism. Three focus group discussions based on age and gender, established the actors and their roles and described institutional settings and changes to supplement data collected from interviews and unstructured observations aimed at giving a better description of the actors and their roles and also point to observable institutional settings and changes within and outside the community group ranches. The findings reveal that actors in the household, state, non-state, and service providers have developed varied coping strategies and mechanisms that sustain pastoralism. The study also identified institutional settings and changes that promote pastoral resilience, notably, private land ownership patterns, co-management of livestock markets, commercialization of herding, decentralization of livestock services, holistic management of pasture and the water-shed management plans. As a result, increased scholarship and advocacy in regards to the concept of co-management of livestock markets, are recommended as a means of understanding the pastoral resilience that the food system exhibits. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Large-Scale Land Concessions, Migration, and Land Use: The Paradox of Industrial Estates in the Red River Delta of Vietnam and Rubber Plantations of Northeast Cambodia
Received: 15 May 2018 / Revised: 30 May 2018 / Accepted: 6 June 2018 / Published: 15 June 2018
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Abstract
This study investigated the implications of large-scale land concessions in the Red River Delta, Vietnam, and Northeast Cambodia with regard to urban and agricultural frontiers, agrarian transitions, migration, and places from which the migrant workers originated. Field interviews conducted near large-scale land concessions
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This study investigated the implications of large-scale land concessions in the Red River Delta, Vietnam, and Northeast Cambodia with regard to urban and agricultural frontiers, agrarian transitions, migration, and places from which the migrant workers originated. Field interviews conducted near large-scale land concessions for industrial estates in the Red River Delta and rubber plantations in Northeast Cambodia suggest that these radically different concessions are paradoxically leading to similar reconfigurations of livelihoods, labor patterns, and landscapes despite basic differences in these forms of land use. Both the Red River Delta and Northeast Cambodia are frontier environments undergoing extensive agrarian change with migration to work in the large-scale land concessions leading to a shortage of farm labor that anticipates changes in farming practices and farm livelihoods. These population movements will lead to further land-use changes as governments invest in the infrastructure and services needed to support increased population density in the receiving areas. In addition, labor migrations associated with these investments affect land-use practices both at the site of the concession and the places from where the migrants originate. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Cover/Land-Use Changes in South and Southeast Asia)
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Open AccessArticle Improving the Matrix-Assessment of Ecosystem Services Provision—The Case of Regional Land Use Planning under Climate Change in the Region of Halle, Germany
Received: 8 May 2018 / Revised: 7 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 13 June 2018
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Abstract
Against the background of climate change, current and future provision of ecosystem services (ES) will also change. The recording of current provision potentials and its development in future is important for adapted regional planning. ES assessments are frequently carried out in the context
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Against the background of climate change, current and future provision of ecosystem services (ES) will also change. The recording of current provision potentials and its development in future is important for adapted regional planning. ES assessments are frequently carried out in the context of expert-based surveys, which have, however, revealed little information to date about uncertainties. We present a novel approach that combines the ES matrix assessment with the Delphi approach, confidence ratings, standardized confidence levels, and scenario assessment. First, the most important ES and their current and future provision potentials were identified by expert-based surveys in the study region, Halle (Saale) in Germany. Secondly, land use scenarios under climate change were developed that maintain the most important ES. The scenarios were assessed by the experts. Our study showed that the relevance of food as a provisioning ES, as well as spiritual values and recreational/landscape beauty as cultural ES, is high. A high level of acceptance was achieved by the afforestation scenario. Integration of the Delphi approach, confidence ratings, and confidence levels into the ES matrix assessment is an appropriate combination for estimating uncertainties in expert-based knowledge, thus contributing to the uncertainty assessment in regional planning. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessment of Land Cover Change in Peri-Urban High Andean Environments South of Bogotá, Colombia
Received: 2 May 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 11 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
Bogotá, the rapidly growing center of an emerging economy in the northern part of South America, is located within a biodiversity hotspot in the tropical Andes. The surrounding mountains harbor the ecosystems Páramo and Bosque Altoandino whose high water retention capacity serves as
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Bogotá, the rapidly growing center of an emerging economy in the northern part of South America, is located within a biodiversity hotspot in the tropical Andes. The surrounding mountains harbor the ecosystems Páramo and Bosque Altoandino whose high water retention capacity serves as a “natural water tower” for the city’s freshwater supply. Since Bogotá is steadily growing, the city spreads into its peri-urban area, thus threatening its proximal ecosystems. In this study, the land use and land cover change (LULCC) of Bogotá’s surrounding area is analyzed with random forest algorithms for the period 1989 to 2016. The basin of the Rio Tunjuelo, a subbasin of the Rio Bogotá, was selected for analysis, as it is typical for the entire area in terms of relief, land use and land cover. A multiple logistic regression analysis is applied to identify different determining factors of the changes. LULCC analysis of the Rio Tunjuelo basin shows an ongoing but abating southward spread of Bogotá’s outer rim, an increase of agricultural land, and decrease of natural vegetation. After an initial heavily spatial spread of urbanization in the early 1990s, the speed of urban spread declined in the past years. Statistical analysis implies that the defined natural vegetation classes must be considered as one spatial entity. The probability for their change increases with decreasing distance to established agricultural areas, which indicates human impact as a relevant factor for LULCC. Generally, the explained deviance (D2) is low and hence it is presumed that the LULCC determining factors are not predominantly found among environmental parameters. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Contribution of Traditional Farming to Ecosystem Services Provision: Case Studies from Slovakia
Received: 16 May 2018 / Revised: 2 June 2018 / Accepted: 7 June 2018 / Published: 12 June 2018
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Abstract
The main aim of this study is to assess the benefits provided by the ecosystems of traditional agricultural landscapes (TAL) and compare them to the outputs of large-scale agriculture. Assessment of ecosystem services (ES) was performed in four case-study areas situated in Slovakia,
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The main aim of this study is to assess the benefits provided by the ecosystems of traditional agricultural landscapes (TAL) and compare them to the outputs of large-scale agriculture. Assessment of ecosystem services (ES) was performed in four case-study areas situated in Slovakia, representing different types of TAL: Viticultural landscape, meadow–pasture landscape, and agricultural landscape with dispersed settlements and mosaics of orchards. The methodological approach was focused on assessment of all the principal types of ES—regulation and maintenance, provisioning, and cultural. Differences in the provision of ES due to the impact of different practices and intensities of agricultural landscape management were subsequently assessed and compared. The results show that TAL are generally more diverse and balanced regarding ES provision, mainly because of their varied patterns and their related functions. In particular they play an important role in water retention and the prevention of soil erosion—both important with respect to changes in climate. Modern intensive agriculture is principally able to fulfil the production functions. Support for traditional farming, landscape diversification and small-scale agricultural management is vital for enhancing the values of rural regions. Such measures could become key drivers for sustainable agricultural management in Slovakia, and elsewhere. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Expansion of Commercial Sugarcane Cultivation among Smallholder Farmers in Uganda: Implications for Household Food Security
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 29 May 2018 / Accepted: 5 June 2018 / Published: 11 June 2018
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Abstract
Understanding the impact of commercial agriculture in the face of global change is critical to support strategies that ensure food security and alleviate poverty among households. We assessed the contribution of commercial sugarcane cultivation to household-level food security among smallholder farmers in Busoga
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Understanding the impact of commercial agriculture in the face of global change is critical to support strategies that ensure food security and alleviate poverty among households. We assessed the contribution of commercial sugarcane cultivation to household-level food security among smallholder farmers in Busoga sub-region, eastern Uganda. Land use changes are motivated by quick commercial gains rather than sustained food production; a situation that influences food security. The majority of households cultivate few crop varieties, lack adequate and nutritious foods, and have inadequate income to purchase food to meet their needs. Inadequacy of food within some commercial sugarcane-cultivating households suggests that generating income does not necessarily increase food security. To cope with food insecurity, households offer labour in exchange for food, borrow food, ration food, and at times steal. This is exacerbated by increasing food crop failures, large family sizes, trade in food items, and declining availability of food and land for food production. Commercial sugarcane cultivation is the main driver of food insecurity but given its perceived economic benefits, future sugarcane plantations expansion in the region is probably inevitable. Therefore, future policy should be designed to provide triple-win strategies (i.e., food security, poverty alleviation, and climate change adaptation) that provide sustainable livelihoods. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Forest Cover Changes and Trajectories in a Typical Middle Mountain Watershed of Western Nepal
Received: 8 April 2018 / Revised: 22 May 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 6 June 2018
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Abstract
There have been drastic changes in resource use practices and land-use patterns in the middle mountains of Nepal as a result of human transformation processes of the environment. This study aimed at assessing land-use and land-cover changes, especially those related to forest cover
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There have been drastic changes in resource use practices and land-use patterns in the middle mountains of Nepal as a result of human transformation processes of the environment. This study aimed at assessing land-use and land-cover changes, especially those related to forest cover changes, in Phewa Lake watershed—a typical middle mountain watershed of western Nepal—using multi-temporal Landsat images from 1995, 2005 and 2017. Landsat images of each year were classified individually using object-based image classification into four land-use and land-cover types: agriculture and built-up, forest, waterbodies and other. Post-classification comparison was employed to quantify the extent and rate of changes, which was further extended to quantify the level of persistence, gains, losses, and swaps of forests. Furthermore, temporal trajectories of land-cover associated with forest cover changes were established, and their spatial pattern analyzed. The results show that, between 1995 and 2017, forest cover increased by 6.8% with a corresponding decrease in the extent of all other land-cover types. Dynamic transitions and internal trading among forest and agriculture and built-up category were observed, revealing more complex patterns than the commonly assumed linear and irreversible forest cover transformations in the mountains of Nepal. Our approach to assess major signals of forest cover transitions and change trajectories will help link patterns to the process of change including deforestation and forest regeneration. This would, in turn, form the basis for formulating practical conservation and management strategies for Phewa Lake watershed and other mountain watersheds of Nepal. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Assessing the Land and Vegetation Cover of Abandoned Fire Hazardous and Rewetted Peatlands: Comparing Different Multispectral Satellite Data
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 20 May 2018 / Accepted: 1 June 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
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Abstract
Since the 1990s, many peatlands that were drained for peat extraction and agriculture in Russia have been abandoned with high CO2 emissions and frequent fires, such as the enormous fires around Moscow in 2010. The fire hazard in these peatlands can be
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Since the 1990s, many peatlands that were drained for peat extraction and agriculture in Russia have been abandoned with high CO2 emissions and frequent fires, such as the enormous fires around Moscow in 2010. The fire hazard in these peatlands can be reduced through peatland rewetting and wetland restoration, so monitoring peatland status is essential. However, large expanses, poor accessibility, and fast plant succession pose as challenges for monitoring these areas without satellite images. In this study, a technique involving multispectral satellite data was used to identify six land cover classes that meet the requirements for peatland monitoring using the Meschera National Park as the testing area. This park is the largest area of once-exploited and now rewetted peatlands. However, data from one scanner are often insufficient to successfully implement this technique. In this study, we compared the land cover classifications obtained by using data from Spot-5, Spot-6, Landsat-7, Landsat-8, and Sentinel-2 satellites. The Spot-6 data were insufficient, despite having a higher spatial resolution, due to the lack of a shortwave infrared (SWIR) band. The high classification accuracy attained using data from other sensors enabled their combined use to provide an acceptable accuracy in the final product. The classification results were compared using minimum distance Erdas Imagine and the object-oriented ScanEx Image Processor, and the classification accuracy was similar between satellite images, which facilitates the transition from one method to another without quality loss. The proposed and tested approach can be used to analyze the status of abandoned and rewetted peatlands in other locations for the inventory and prioritization of sites for rewetting and restoration, monitoring status changes, and assessing restoration efficacy. The comparability of the data from different sensors allows for the combination of classified images and creates new possibilities for time series analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Approximating Forest Resource Dynamics in Peninsular Malaysia Using Parametric and Nonparametric Models, and Its Implications for Establishing Forest Reference (Emission) Levels under REDD+
Received: 1 May 2018 / Revised: 1 June 2018 / Accepted: 4 June 2018 / Published: 5 June 2018
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Abstract
Forest reference (emission) levels (FREL/FRLs) are baselines for REDD+, and 34 countries have submitted their FREL/FRLs to UNFCCC by January 2018. Most of them used simple historical average without considering the stages of forest transition. This research suggested that the period of calculating
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Forest reference (emission) levels (FREL/FRLs) are baselines for REDD+, and 34 countries have submitted their FREL/FRLs to UNFCCC by January 2018. Most of them used simple historical average without considering the stages of forest transition. This research suggested that the period of calculating FREL/FRLs of simple historical average should be properly chosen if these countries are occupying multiple stages or sub-stages of forest transition. Moreover, as a case study, this research applied both parametric and nonparametric models to approximate forest area dynamics with regard to per capita GDP in Peninsular Malaysia from 1971 to 2016. This research found that, in the case of Peninsular Malaysia, among the parametric models, the biexponential model outperformed the other growth models, while two of the nonparametric models i.e. Friedman local averaging and Nadaraya–Watson kernel smoothing models are the best among all the models on the basis of their RSS, RMSE, and MAE indices. Based on the results of our leave-last-five-out CV, however, the research found that the biexponential and Nadaraya–Watson kernel smoothing models performed best, although the performance of the other two nonparametric models remains unknown. Nonparametric model results indicated that Peninsular Malaysia experienced four sub-stages since 1971 and each sub-stage had different linear trends, yet it still did not reach the turning point of forest transition. This research also found that a linear projection using historical deforestation data when the per capita GDP level reached US$8000 was appropriate for setting FREL/FRLs. Full article
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Open AccessCommunication Proposed Release of Wilderness Study Areas in Montana (USA) Would Demote the Conservation Status of Nationally-Valuable Wildlands
Received: 23 April 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 30 May 2018 / Published: 1 June 2018
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Abstract
Wildlands are increasingly lost to human development. Conservation scientists repeatedly call for protecting the remaining wildlands and expanding the land area protected in reserves. Despite these calls, conservation reserves can be eliminated through legislation that demotes their conservation status. For example, legislation introduced
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Wildlands are increasingly lost to human development. Conservation scientists repeatedly call for protecting the remaining wildlands and expanding the land area protected in reserves. Despite these calls, conservation reserves can be eliminated through legislation that demotes their conservation status. For example, legislation introduced to the Congress of the United States recently would demote 29 Wilderness Study Areas (WSAs) from the protections afforded by their existing status. The proposed legislation suggests that the 29 areas are not suitable for a promotion and future inclusion in the National Wilderness Preservation System based on decades-old local evaluations. Local evaluations, notwithstanding, it may be important to consider the value of lands from a national perspective. Without a national perspective, local evaluations alone may lead to overlooking the national significance of lands. With this in mind, I used five qualities of wildland value (wildness, intactness of night sky, lack of human-generated noises, intactness of mammals, and intactness of mammal carnivores of conservation concern) to compare the 29 WSAs to all national parks and wilderness areas located within the contiguous United States. The pool of 29 WSAs was similar to the pool of national parks and wilderness areas with respect to the five qualities assessed, and some of the WSAs were characterized by higher values than most of national parks and wilderness areas. This analysis demonstrates the national significance of the WSAs targeted for demotion of their existing conservation status. Such an approach could be used in future land management legislation and planning to ensure that a national perspective on conservation value is brought to bear on decisions facing federally-managed lands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biodiversity and Protected Areas)
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Open AccessArticle Collective Land Ownership in the 21st Century: Overview of Global Trends
Received: 30 April 2018 / Revised: 19 May 2018 / Accepted: 21 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
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Abstract
Statutory recognition of rural communities as collective owners of their lands is substantial, expanding, and an increasingly accepted element of property relations. The conventional meaning of property in land itself is changing, allowing for a greater diversity of attributes without impairing legal protection.
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Statutory recognition of rural communities as collective owners of their lands is substantial, expanding, and an increasingly accepted element of property relations. The conventional meaning of property in land itself is changing, allowing for a greater diversity of attributes without impairing legal protection. General identified trends include: (1) declining attempts to deny that community lands are property on the grounds that they may not be sold or are owned collectively; (2) increased provision for communities to be registered owners to the same degree as individual and corporate persons; (3) a rise in number of laws catering specifically to the identification, registration and governance of community property; and (4) in laws that acknowledge that community property may exist whether or not it has been registered, and that registration formalizes rather than creates property in these cases. The research examined the laws of 100 countries to ascertain the status of lands which social communities, either traditionally or in more contemporary arrangements, deem to be their own. Sampling is broadly consistent with numbers of countries per region. The constitutions of all 100 countries were examined. The land laws of 61 countries were scrutinized. Secondary sources were used for 39 countries, mainly due to laws not being available in English. The main secondary source used was LandMark, whose data is publicly available at www.landmarkmap.org. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Fractal Geometry of Urban Land Use: The Case of Ulaanbaatar City, Mongolia
Received: 16 April 2018 / Revised: 14 May 2018 / Accepted: 26 May 2018 / Published: 29 May 2018
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Abstract
This research summarizes land use and city expansion, as well as the dynamics of urbanization, over recent years in Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia. The study applies fractal geometry to describe land uses in Ulaanbaatar city using a mathematical procedure and geographic information system (GIS)
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This research summarizes land use and city expansion, as well as the dynamics of urbanization, over recent years in Ulaanbaatar city, Mongolia. The study applies fractal geometry to describe land uses in Ulaanbaatar city using a mathematical procedure and geographic information system (GIS) urban analysis, and measures urban sprawl using an index relation of area and perimeter. Land-use parcels’ shape, area perimeter relations, sprawl statement and geometry of city structure are considered. The research presents the growth of Ulaanbaatar city in two time series, 2000 and 2010. The main findings stated here are that Ulaanbaatar is growing in an unsystematic and fractal way, even though the geometrical growth has not been strictly planned and has a most irregular shape of urban sprawl. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Land Acquisition in India: A Pareto and Kaldor-Hicks Perspective
Received: 24 April 2018 / Revised: 13 May 2018 / Accepted: 13 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
Land acquisition by the government or a private entity to aid industrialization remains a critical policy concern. In 2013, The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR Act of 2013) became the premier land law in
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Land acquisition by the government or a private entity to aid industrialization remains a critical policy concern. In 2013, The Right to Fair Compensation and Transparency in Land Acquisition, Rehabilitation and Resettlement Act (LARR Act of 2013) became the premier land law in India. The Act creates a transparent process through which buyers can acquire land for industrialization and other commercial activities. However, the succeeding government was dissatisfied with some provisions in the original Act and floated two Amendment Bills in 2014 and 2015. In this article, we examine if the proposed removal of the “Consent” clause, a key provision in the original Act, is necessary. The removal would allow the government to impose eminent domain under certain conditions. We propose that removing the “Consent” clause is necessary for social welfare maximization and maintain that compensation based on marginal utility of income is the correct approach as it maximizes social welfare and helps maintain a balanced budget. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Towards a Reproducible LULC Hierarchical Class Legend for Use in the Southwest of Pará State, Brazil: A Comparison with Remote Sensing Data-Driven Hierarchies
Received: 12 April 2018 / Revised: 5 May 2018 / Accepted: 11 May 2018 / Published: 18 May 2018
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Abstract
Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) classes defined by subjective criteria can diminish the significance of a study, hindering the reproducibility and the comparison of results with other studies. Having a standard legend for a given study area and objective could benefit a
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Land Use and Land Cover (LULC) classes defined by subjective criteria can diminish the significance of a study, hindering the reproducibility and the comparison of results with other studies. Having a standard legend for a given study area and objective could benefit a group of researchers focused on long-term or multidisciplinary studies in a given area, in the sense that they would be able to maintain class definition among different works, done by different teams. To allow for reproducibility, it is important that the classes in this legend are described using quantifiable elements of land cover, which can be measured on the ground, as is recommended by Land Cover Meta Language (LCML). The present study aims to propose LCML formalized hierarchical legends for LULC classes, focusing on the southwest of Pará state, within the Brazilian Amazon. In order to illustrate the potential of these legends, a secondary objective of the current study is to analyze classification results using legends derived from a particular Remote Sensing dataset and compare these results with the classification obtained using the LCML hierarchical legend proposed. To perform this analysis, firstly, we proposed a conceptual class model based on existing classification systems for the upland Brazilian Amazon Biome. From this model, 16 LULC classes were described in LCML, using quantifiable and easily recognizable physiognomic characteristics of land cover classes measured on the lower Tapajós river, in Pará state. These classes were grouped into legends with different levels of detail (number of classes), based on our model or on the image and clustering algorithms. All legends were used in supervised classification of a Landsat5/TM image. Results indicate that it is necessary to incorporate multi-temporal knowledge for class definition as well as the proposed thresholds (height and cover proportion of soil, litter, herbaceous vegetation, shrubs, and trees) in order to properly describe classes. However, the thresholds are useful to delimit classes that happen in a successive way. Classification results revealed that classes formed by the same elements of land cover with similar thresholds present high confusion. Additionally, classifications obtained using legends based on the class separability in a given Remote Sensing image tend to be more accurate but not always useful because they can hide or mix important classes. It was observed that the more generalized the legend (those with few details and number of classes), the more accurate the classifications results are for all types of legends. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Shifting Centres: Site Location and Resource Procurement on the North Coast of Cyprus over the Longue Durée of the Prehistoric Bronze Age
Received: 22 April 2018 / Revised: 8 May 2018 / Accepted: 10 May 2018 / Published: 16 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the relationship between site location, resource procurement, and political economy in the context of three localised centres of settlement—Vasilia, Vounous, and Lapithos—which succeeded each other in the narrow, naturally bounded north coastal strip of Cyprus during the approximately 750 years
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This paper examines the relationship between site location, resource procurement, and political economy in the context of three localised centres of settlement—Vasilia, Vounous, and Lapithos—which succeeded each other in the narrow, naturally bounded north coastal strip of Cyprus during the approximately 750 years of the Early and Middle Bronze Age (ca. 2450–1700 BC). Cyprus is home to abundant copper sulphide ores and was linked to the international metal trade in the first phase of the Early Bronze Age and again in the Middle Bronze Age. In both cases, this was conducted largely, if not exclusively, via outlets on the north coast which lie close to the southern coast of Anatolia and contemporary shipping lanes but some 35–40 km distant from the nearest ore bodies in the foothills of the Troodos Mountains. Mechanisms which allowed north coast sites to overcome internal distance deterrents in order to exploit geostrategic advantages in relation to external trade include a favourable natural environment (rainfall, soils, and harbours), technological advantage, probably coercion (physical and ideological), and an ability to achieve high levels of centrality within communication and transport networks with fluctuating levels of integration and hierarchy. Full article
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Open AccessArticle The Potential for Enhanced Water Decoupling in the Jordan Basin through Regional Agricultural Best Practice
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 7 May 2018 / Accepted: 9 May 2018 / Published: 13 May 2018
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Abstract
This paper examines the differences in agricultural water application per crop ton output in semi-arid jurisdictions in the Jordan Basin, focusing on Israel and Jordan, with some analysis relevant to Palestine. In order to understand differences in water application, it delivers a nationally
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This paper examines the differences in agricultural water application per crop ton output in semi-arid jurisdictions in the Jordan Basin, focusing on Israel and Jordan, with some analysis relevant to Palestine. In order to understand differences in water application, it delivers a nationally averaged assessment of applied water application for 14 key regional crops, with most cases suggesting Israeli best practice in water application per unit crop. The paper draws on a secondary assessment of agricultural water intensity and primary data from farmer interviews to demonstrate differences in applied water productivity and agricultural context. The analysis suggests a conservative estimate that a difference of 168 Million Cubic Meters (MCM)/yr (33% of agriculture and 18% of national total) exists in terms of water application for a given crop production in Jordan when compared with Israel. The paper then proposes further work required to establish how differences in water application might translate into differences in agricultural water productivity, and thereby potential water savings that might enable growth of production within current agricultural allocations, allowing new future resources to be allocated to other economic and social needs. The paper also delivers a preliminary analysis of the political and institutional landscape for implementation, assessing the challenges of institutional silos and overlap that some policy stakeholders see as hindering cross-sectoral progress. The paper concludes by examining the limitations of the analysis, and it proposes future work to deepen the robustness of results and examines some of the challenges facing improved agricultural water productivity and changing farm behaviour in the region. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Open AccessArticle A Minimum Cross-Entropy Approach to Disaggregate Agricultural Data at the Field Level
Received: 13 March 2018 / Revised: 16 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 May 2018 / Published: 9 May 2018
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Abstract
Agricultural policies have impacts on land use, the economy, and the environment and their analysis requires disaggregated data at the local level with geographical references. Thus, this study proposes a model for disaggregating agricultural data, which develops a supervised classification of satellite images
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Agricultural policies have impacts on land use, the economy, and the environment and their analysis requires disaggregated data at the local level with geographical references. Thus, this study proposes a model for disaggregating agricultural data, which develops a supervised classification of satellite images by using a survey and empirical knowledge. To ensure the consistency with multiple sources of information, a minimum cross-entropy process was used. The proposed model was applied using two supervised classification algorithms and a more informative set of biophysical information. The results were validated and analyzed by considering various sources of information, showing that an entropy approach combined with supervised classifications may provide a reliable data disaggregation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle 3D Geo-Information Innovation in Europe’s Public Mapping Agencies: A Public Value Perspective
Received: 3 April 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 5 May 2018 / Published: 8 May 2018
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Abstract
Intensifying and increasingly complex physical developments under, on, and above ground, as well as the speed and accessibility of digital innovation, is resulting in growing interest in public sector investment in 3D geo-information. In Europe, a consortium of 11 public mapping agencies (PMAs)
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Intensifying and increasingly complex physical developments under, on, and above ground, as well as the speed and accessibility of digital innovation, is resulting in growing interest in public sector investment in 3D geo-information. In Europe, a consortium of 11 public mapping agencies (PMAs) recently undertook a cost-benefit analysis for pursuing adoption of 3D geo-information. However, broader public management literature has shown that while economic value is vital for justifying public investment, it is not the only driving factor and that the creation of public value is crucially and equally significant as it conveys social and political legitimacy. Using a public value perspective, this paper aims to re-examine the data collected by the consortium of PMAs. Content analysis of the qualitative data provides strong examples of how 3D geo-information may potentially manifest as different types of public value across a broad public of stakeholders as well as providing evidence that such innovation would likely be politically as well as operationally viable. Nonetheless, the lack of a clear obvious need for 3D geo-information that responds to a specific societal challenge may pose an impediment to successful innovation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Flood Hazard Mapping of a Rapidly Urbanizing City in the Foothills (Birendranagar, Surkhet) of Nepal
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 3 May 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 5 May 2018
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Abstract
Flooding in the rapidly urbanizing city of Birendranagar, Nepal has been intensifying, culminating in massive loss of life and property during July and August 2014. No previous studies have monitored underlying land-cover dynamics and flood hazards for the area. This study described spatiotemporal
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Flooding in the rapidly urbanizing city of Birendranagar, Nepal has been intensifying, culminating in massive loss of life and property during July and August 2014. No previous studies have monitored underlying land-cover dynamics and flood hazards for the area. This study described spatiotemporal urbanization dynamics and associated land-use/land-cover (LULC) changes of the city using Landsat imagery classifications for five periods between 1989 and 2016 (1989–1996, 1996–2001, 2001–2011, 2011–2016). Areas with high flood-hazard risk were also identified on the basis of field surveys, literature, and the Landsat analysis. The major LULC changes observed were the rapid expansion of urban cover and the gradual decline of cultivated lands. The urban area expanded nearly by 700%, from 85 ha in 1989 to 656 ha in 2016, with an average annual growth rate of 23.99%. Cultivated land declined simultaneously by 12%, from 7005 ha to 6205 ha. The loss of forest cover also contributed significantly to increased flood hazard. Steep topography, excessive land utilization, fragile physiographic structure, and intense monsoonal precipitation aggravate hazards locally. As in Nepal generally, the sustainable development of the Birendranagar area has been jeopardized by a disregard for integrated flood-hazard mapping, accounting for historical land-cover changes. This study provides essential input information for improved urban-area planning in this regard. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Planning for Natural Hazards)
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Open AccessArticle Land Use Scenario Modeling Based on Local Knowledge for the Provision of Ecosystem Services in Northern Ghana
Received: 31 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 3 May 2018 / Published: 4 May 2018
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Abstract
The understanding of multiple effects by possible future development is essential for adapted land use planning. This study assessed the potential of land use scenarios for the provision of ecosystem services using local knowledge in two districts of northern Ghana. Local knowledge was
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The understanding of multiple effects by possible future development is essential for adapted land use planning. This study assessed the potential of land use scenarios for the provision of ecosystem services using local knowledge in two districts of northern Ghana. Local knowledge was gathered through surveys with extension officers, who are regarded as eligible knowledge holders for agricultural land use. Firstly, ecosystem services that were perceived as important by the stakeholders were identified, namely food, fodder, energy, construction materials, marketable products, water provision, and erosion control. Quantitative indicators were then determined to analyze the capacity of land use types to supply the ecosystem services. Land use scenarios were developed based on their applicability and capacity to mitigate climate change impacts. The perception of stakeholders was applied to evaluate changes in ecosystem services provision by the scenarios. A modeling approach for a spatially explicit simulation was used to assess the potential to provide ecosystem services at a district level. The results reflected the different trade-offs and synergies between ecosystem services of each scenario, depending on the district. Along with the local perception, characteristics of land use patterns also influenced the regional potential of ecosystem services provision. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Merging Small Scattered Pastures into Large Pasture-Forest Mosaics Can Improve Profitability in Swedish Suckler-Based Beef Production
Received: 26 March 2018 / Revised: 26 April 2018 / Accepted: 28 April 2018 / Published: 3 May 2018
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Abstract
A scattered structure of small pastures has negative effects on profitability in beef enterprises because small enclosures result in high labor costs per livestock unit. Moreover, larger enterprises distribute the costs across more livestock units and hence achieve lower operating costs. Creating larger
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A scattered structure of small pastures has negative effects on profitability in beef enterprises because small enclosures result in high labor costs per livestock unit. Moreover, larger enterprises distribute the costs across more livestock units and hence achieve lower operating costs. Creating larger coherent pastures makes it easier to increase herd size and yields positive effects due to economies of scale. This study on five Swedish organic cow-calf enterprises examined how profitability is affected by creating larger pastures from small scattered pastures and adjacent forest land. Additional income, additional costs, reduced income and reduced costs were taken into account using a partial budgeting technique. A change to larger coherent pastures was found to be profitable for all enterprises examined. Agri-environmental payments and supports were the most important benefit from creating larger pastures, followed by income increases and cost reductions resulting from economies of scale and improved consolidation. Income reductions due to premature final felling (clearcutting of forest land) and the opportunity cost of forest land did not have a major influence. To conclude, creating large coherent pasture-forest mosaics by merging small scattered enclosures is profitable for Swedish organic cow-calf enterprises. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Modeling Land Use and Land Cover Changes and Their Effects on Biodiversity in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia
Received: 28 March 2018 / Revised: 24 April 2018 / Accepted: 27 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
Land use and land cover (LULC) change causes biodiversity decline through loss, alteration, and fragmentation of habitats. There are uncertainties on how LULC will change in the future and the effect of such change on biodiversity. In this paper we applied the Land
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Land use and land cover (LULC) change causes biodiversity decline through loss, alteration, and fragmentation of habitats. There are uncertainties on how LULC will change in the future and the effect of such change on biodiversity. In this paper we applied the Land Change Modeler (LCM) and Integrated Valuation of Ecosystem Services and Tradeoffs (InVEST) Scenario Generator tool to develop three spatially explicit LULC future scenarios from 2015 to 2030 in the Pulang Pisau district of Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. The district is experiencing a rapid loss of biodiversity as a result of unprecedented LULC changes. Further, we used the InVEST Habitat Quality model to map habitat quality as a proxy to biodiversity in each of the scenarios. We find habitat quality decline is largest in a scenario where past trends of LULC change continue, followed by a scenario with planned agricultural expansion. Alternately, a conservation-oriented scenario results in significant improvements in habitat quality for biodiversity. This information can support in developing appropriate land use policy for biodiversity conservation in Indonesia. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Coastal Hazard Vulnerability Assessment Based on Geomorphic, Oceanographic and Demographic Parameters: The Case of the Peloponnese (Southern Greece)
Received: 5 April 2018 / Revised: 25 April 2018 / Accepted: 26 April 2018 / Published: 1 May 2018
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Abstract
Today low-lying coastal areas around the world are threatened by climate change-related hazards. The identification of highly vulnerable coastal areas is of great importance for the development of coastal management plans. The purpose of this study is to assess the physical and social
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Today low-lying coastal areas around the world are threatened by climate change-related hazards. The identification of highly vulnerable coastal areas is of great importance for the development of coastal management plans. The purpose of this study is to assess the physical and social vulnerability of the Peloponnese (Greece) to coastal hazards. Two indices were estimated: The Coastal Vulnerability Index (CVI) and the Social Vulnerability Index (SVI). CVI allows six physical variablesto be related in a quantitative manner whilethe proposed SVI in this studycontains mainly demographic variables and was calculated for 73 coastal municipal communities. The results reveal that 17.2% of the shoreline (254.8 km) along the western and northwestern coast of the Peloponnese, as well as at the inner Messiniakos and Lakonikos Gulfs, is of high and very high physical vulnerability. High and very high social vulnerabilities characterize communities along the northwestern part of the study area, along the coasts of the Messinian and Cape Malea peninsulas, as well as at the western coast of Saronikos Gulf. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Planning for Natural Hazards)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle The Role of Remote Sensing for Understanding Large-Scale Rubber Concession Expansion in Southern Laos
Received: 4 April 2018 / Revised: 18 April 2018 / Accepted: 18 April 2018 / Published: 20 April 2018
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Abstract
Increasing global demand for natural rubber began in the mid-2000s and led to large-scale expansion of plantations in Laos until rubber latex prices declined greatly beginning in 2011. The expansion of rubber did not, however, occur uniformly across the country. While the north
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Increasing global demand for natural rubber began in the mid-2000s and led to large-scale expansion of plantations in Laos until rubber latex prices declined greatly beginning in 2011. The expansion of rubber did not, however, occur uniformly across the country. While the north and central Laos experienced mostly local and smallholder plantations, rubber expansion in the south was dominated by transnational companies from Vietnam, China and Thailand through large-scale land concessions, often causing conflicts with local communities. In this study we use satellite remote sensing to identify and map the expansion of large-scale rubber plantations in Champasak Province—the first area in southern Laos to host large-scale rubber development—and document the biophysical impacts on the local landscape, which of course is linked to social impacts on local people. Our study demonstrates that the expansion of rubber in the province was rapid and did not always conform to approved concession area locations. The mono-culture nature of rubber plantations also had the effect of homogenizing the landscape, eclipsing the changes caused by local populations. We argue that by providing a relatively inexpensive way to track the expansion of rubber plantations over space and time, remote sensing has the potential to provide advocates and other civil society groups with data that might otherwise remain limited to the restricted domains of state regulation and private sector reporting. However, we also caution that while remote sensing has the potential to provide strong public evidence about plantation expansion, access to and control of this information ultimately determines its value. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Making Sense of Past, Present and Future. Images of Modern and Past Pastoralism among Nyangatom Herders in South Omo, Ethiopia
Received: 10 March 2018 / Revised: 7 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 19 April 2018
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Abstract
This article asks how Nyangatom pastoralists currently make sense of the past, present and future of their pastoralist livelihood. Nyangatom pastoralists, like all agro-pastoralist groups in southern Ethiopia, are faced with enormous structural changes in their immediate surroundings, primarily due to large-scale industrial
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This article asks how Nyangatom pastoralists currently make sense of the past, present and future of their pastoralist livelihood. Nyangatom pastoralists, like all agro-pastoralist groups in southern Ethiopia, are faced with enormous structural changes in their immediate surroundings, primarily due to large-scale industrial agriculture and a government policy encouraging them to be sedentary. While the impacts have been discussed elsewhere, thus far little focus has been placed on what images of the past, present and future these changes create among the Nyangatom. This article pays attention to these changes by highlighting the results of a larger qualitative study. It becomes evident that discourses of modernity and culture are translated into the everyday lives of Nyangatom herders. While the past is constructed as a cultural/traditional time by the older generation, an image of modernity shapes the present life of younger generations. The administration plays a contradictory role in transmitting modernity ideals. The future of the Nyangatom is envisioned as a modern pastoralism, yet there is general pessimism with regards to pastoralism persisting. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
Open AccessEditorial Interactions between Food Security and Land Use in the Context of Global Change
Received: 13 April 2018 / Revised: 13 April 2018 / Accepted: 13 April 2018 / Published: 18 April 2018
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Abstract
Increases in human population and per-capita consumption are putting enormous pressure on land resources. About 38% of the Earth’s land area is being used in agricultural production [1], with about half (ca. 31%) of the remaining land being under forest cover [2] and
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Increases in human population and per-capita consumption are putting enormous pressure on land resources. About 38% of the Earth’s land area is being used in agricultural production [1], with about half (ca. 31%) of the remaining land being under forest cover [2] and the other half being less suitable for agricultural production due to edaphic, topographic and/or climatic factors. Despite the fact that over the last three decades the world food production has doubled [3], about 1 in 9 people in the world is still undernourished [4]. This poses the global challenge of increasing food security without exacerbating serious environmental problems, such as loss of biodiversity [5], greenhouse gas emissions [6], soil degradation [7], and alteration of hydrological cycles [8], among many others. While these issues are of global relevance, we recognize that they are local in nature since their effects are felt locally, while the actions on the land are performed by local actors whose decisions are driven not only by global [9,10], but also by regional [11] and local [12] forces. Full article
Open AccessReview Environmental Conservation in the Tibetan Plateau Region: Lessons for China’s Belt and Road Initiative in the Mountains of Central Asia
Received: 15 March 2018 / Revised: 9 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
Environmental conservation has developed significantly in China over the past 20 years, including more collaborative approaches and recent advances in establishing a national parks system. This study reviews the development of protected areas in the headwaters of the Yangtze River, drawing lessons from
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Environmental conservation has developed significantly in China over the past 20 years, including more collaborative approaches and recent advances in establishing a national parks system. This study reviews the development of protected areas in the headwaters of the Yangtze River, drawing lessons from experiences of community development and co-management approaches. Community engagement and participation in developing localized plans for natural resource utilization and conservation have been critical features of successful ventures. Government programs and policies, the emergence of grassroots civil society, and the development of herders’ cooperatives and protected areas, are all tracked, each pointing towards the significant value of inclusive biodiversity conservation approaches for meeting broadly agreed development agendas, such as achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Observations from the vast, high, arid, and semi-arid lands of the Tibetan Plateau are then considered in light of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, which is bringing vast financial and technical resources to the world. Special attention is given to applying the lessons that have been learned in China to the mountains of Central Asia, globally recognized as a biodiversity hotspot and a water tower for large downstream populations. Keeping local people at the heart of conservation is deemed fundamentally important. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Arid Land Systems: Sciences and Societies)
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Open AccessArticle Land Politics under Market Socialism: The State, Land Policies, and Rural–Urban Land Conversion in China and Vietnam
Received: 6 March 2018 / Revised: 14 April 2018 / Accepted: 15 April 2018 / Published: 17 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper undertakes a comparative analysis of rural–urban land conversion policies in China and Vietnam, and examines the ideology of the state in land policymaking under a market socialism environment. It argues that land policies in both countries include ambiguous boundaries, which allow
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This paper undertakes a comparative analysis of rural–urban land conversion policies in China and Vietnam, and examines the ideology of the state in land policymaking under a market socialism environment. It argues that land policies in both countries include ambiguous boundaries, which allow the socialist state to legitimize its politico-administrative power in land management and retain strong intervention capacity in the land market. In addition to similarities, land policies in China and Vietnam show significant differences in terms of the ownership of rural land and related legislation on land expropriation and transactions. Together, these distinctions cause divergent impacts on the interests and motivations of multiple stakeholders in rural land conversion. It is further observed that the state in both countries is characterized by dynamic, complex, and self-coordinated institutional systems, in which multiple levels of government have different driving forces and strategies in land development. The internal structure of authority in rural–urban land conversion between the multiple levels of government is readjusted by the regulatory land control of the central government. Full article
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle Exploring Long-Term Livelihood and Landscape Change in Two Semi-Arid Sites in Southern Africa: Drivers and Consequences for Social–Ecological Vulnerability
Received: 22 February 2018 / Revised: 2 April 2018 / Accepted: 11 April 2018 / Published: 16 April 2018
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Abstract
This paper investigates the drivers and dynamics of livelihood and landscape change over a 30-year period in two sites in the communal drylands of Zimbabwe (Marwendo) and South Africa (Tshivuhulani). Of particular interest to us was how access to social protection and a
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This paper investigates the drivers and dynamics of livelihood and landscape change over a 30-year period in two sites in the communal drylands of Zimbabwe (Marwendo) and South Africa (Tshivuhulani). Of particular interest to us was how access to social protection and a wider range of options may mitigate increased vulnerability under a changing climate. A mixed methods approach (using household surveys, focus group discussions, life history interviews, transect walks and secondary sources of data) was applied to develop human–environment timelines for each study site. Findings indicate that prolonged periods of droughts, unreliable rainfall, changing socioeconomic policies and development-related projects were among the major drivers of both positive and negative change in both villages. Marwendo, in particular, experienced a suite of negative drivers in the last 10 years that increased vulnerability and forced households to diversify into potentially maladaptive activities. In contrast, the expansion in social grants in Tshivhulani provided an important safety net that reduced vulnerability, but also led to a decline in farming and a narrowing of livelihood activities for some households. We demonstrate that rural development initiatives such as electrification and road construction can strengthen local people’s capacity to respond to drivers of change, while new methods of farming and diversification of the livelihood portfolio can make them more climate-resilient. However, long-term changes in landscapes and ecosystem services and feedbacks on livelihoods could reverse some of the benefits of development by eroding the natural capital many households still depend on. Full article
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Open AccessArticle Adoption of Small-Scale Irrigation Farming as a Climate-Smart Agriculture Practice and Its Influence on Household Income in the Chinyanja Triangle, Southern Africa
Received: 31 January 2018 / Revised: 6 April 2018 / Accepted: 10 April 2018 / Published: 14 April 2018
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Abstract
This article is concerned with the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on household income in the Chinyanja Triangle. Chinyanja Triangle is a region that is increasingly experiencing mid-season dry spells and an increase in occurrence
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This article is concerned with the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on household income in the Chinyanja Triangle. Chinyanja Triangle is a region that is increasingly experiencing mid-season dry spells and an increase in occurrence of drought, which is attributed largely to climate variability and change. This poses high agricultural production risks, which aggravate poverty and food insecurity. For this region, adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice is very important. Through a binary logistic and ordinary least squares regression, this article determines factors that influence the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice and its influence on income among smallholder farmers. The results show that off-farm employment, access to irrigation equipment, access to reliable water sources and awareness of water conservation practices, such as rainwater harvesting, have a significant influence on the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming. On the other hand, the farmer’s age, distance travelled to the nearest market and nature of employment negatively influence the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming decisions. Ordinary least squares regression results showed that the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice has a significant positive influence on agricultural income. We therefore conclude that to empower smallholder farmers to respond quickly to climate variability and change, practices that will enhance the adoption of small-scale irrigation farming in the Chinyanja Triangle are critical, as this will significantly affect agricultural income. In terms of policy, we recommend that the governments of Zambia, Malawi and Mozambique, which cover the Chinyanja Triangle, formulate policies that will enhance the adoption of sustainable small scale-irrigation farming as a climate-smart agriculture practice. This will go a long way in mitigating the adverse effects that accompany climate variability and change in the region. Full article
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