Abstract: In this Special Issue on “Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change” we aimed to bring together articles that showcase innovative uses of agent-based models (ABMs) for investigating and explaining landscape change and dynamics.[...]
Abstract: Brazil’s Cerrado is a highly diverse ecosystem and it provides critical habitat for many species. Cerrado habitats have suffered significant degradation and decline over the past decades due to expansion of cash crops and livestock farming across South America. Approximately 1,800,000 km2 of the Cerrado remain in Brazil, but detailed maps and conservation assessments of the Cerrado are lacking. We developed a land cover classification for the Cerrado, focusing on the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, which may also be used to map critical habitat for endangered species. We used a Random Forest algorithm to perform a supervised classification on a set of Landsat 8 images. To determine habitat fragmentation for the Cerrado, we used Fragstats. A habitat connectivity analysis was performed using Linkage Mapper. Our final classification had an overall accuracy of 88%. Our classification produced higher accuracies (72%) in predicting Cerrado than existing government maps. We found that remaining Cerrado habitats were severely fragmented. Four potential corridors were identified in the southwest of Mato Grosso do Sul, where large Cerrado patches are located. Only two large patches remain in Mato Grosso do Sul: one within the Kadiwéu Indian Reserve, and one near the southeastern edge of the Pantanal-dominated landscape. These results are alarming for rare species requiring larger tracts of habitat such as the giant armadillo (Priodontes maximus).
Abstract: Land-titling programs, land and forest allocation programs, and projects on state-allocated land for development and investment in Laos have been key drivers of change in land tenure. These have triggered major shifts in land use rights, from customary, to temporary, and then to permanent land use rights. This article explores how government programs to grant land use rights to individual households have affected the way people have been able to acquire and secure land tenure. For our case study, we selected the village of Napo, the target of many land tenure changes in the past four decades. We collected data from district offices, group discussions with village organizations, and interviews with selected households. The study shows how land use rights shifted over time and reveals that households obtained most of their agricultural land and forestland through a claim process. Original households were mainly land claimers, while migrants were land buyers. The process of formalization and allocation of tenure triggered inequality among households. Attention is needed in future land governance and tenure reforms in order to safeguard the land use rights of local people in an equitable manner.
Abstract: Scientific and policy interest in the biological diversity of agriculture (agrobiodiversity) is expanding amid global socioeconomic and environmental changes and sustainability interests. The majority of global agrobiodiversity is produced in smallholder food-growing. We use meta-analyses in an integrated framework to examine the interactions of smallholder agrobiodiversity with: (1) livelihood processes, especially migration, including impacts on agrobiodiversity as well as the interconnected resource systems of soil, water, and uncultivated habitats; and (2) plant-soil ecological systems. We hypothesize these interactions depend on: (1) scope of livelihood diversification and type resource system; and (2) plant residues and above-/belowground component ecological specificity. Findings show: (1) livelihood diversification is linked to varied environmental factors that range from rampant degradation to enhancing sustainability; and (2) significant ecological coupling of aboveground and soil agrobiodiversity (AGSOBIO assemblages). The environmental impacts of livelihood interactions correspond to variation of diversification (migration, on-farm diversification) and resource system (i.e., agrobiodiversity per se, soil, water). Our findings also reveal mutually dependent interactions of aboveground and soil agrobiodiversity. Results identify livelihood diversification-induced reduction of environmental resource quality with lagged agrobiodiversity declines as a potentially major avenue of global change. Our contribution re-frames livelihood interactions to include both agrobiodiversity and ecological systems. We discuss this integrated social-environmental re-framing through the proposed spatial geographic schema of regional agri-food spaces with distinctive matrices of livelihood strategies and relations to biodiversity and resources. This re-framing can be used to integrate livelihood, agrobiodiversity, and ecological analysis and to guide policy and scientific approaches for sustainability in agriculture and food-growing.
Abstract: Land use—with a special focus on agriculture—is increasingly influenced by globalization and external driving forces, causing farmers to seek opportunities to develop efficient, large-scale production systems.[...]
Abstract: The notion that the formal titling and individualization of land rights in developing countries lead to higher investments in land and agricultural productivity holds sway in academic and development circles. In this paper, this notion is analyzed based on a comparative study of land reform programs and their implications for access to land, credit, and agricultural investments in Ghana, Kenya, and Vietnam. It focuses on how different access routes to land influence access to credit, and the transaction costs of land reform programs for agricultural investments. The paper concludes that in developing countries, the transaction costs of land reforms for investments can significantly increase if the influence of power is not addressed in order to reduce unequal access to land. The practical implementation of land reform is influenced by many factors, including the control on political power. Thus, measures must accompany implementation to check the use of power to derail land reform objectives. Moreover, the paper supports the argument that land reforms should be implemented in their local contexts so as to have positive effects on agriculture.