Special Issue "Trade-offs between Large-Scale and Small-Scale Forest Commercialization"
A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).
Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (30 September 2014)
Dr. Aaron J.M. Russell
Scientist, Forests and Governance Programme, Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia
Website | E-Mail
Interests: adaptive collaborative management; organisational learning; ecosystem-based adaptation; action research; decentralisation; power; gender; impact assessment
Dear Colleagues,Decade of 2000 witnessed transactions of 106 million hectares of land (40-50% forested land) in developing countries for large-scale agricultural investment. It is estimated that by 2050, up to 70 million hectares of new land will have to be brought under cultivation to meet the global demand for food, fuel, fiber and other commodities. Various countries in Asia have endeavoured to take advantage of this demand to further national development objectives by opening up their forested areas to domestic and foreign investments. Among all continents, this pressure is expected to be greatest in Asia, where projections middle class growth and associated consumption during the next decade will surpass that in all other regions of the world.
Much of the recent literature is focused on examining the perceived negative impacts of large scale land investments in specific geographical regions or specific commodities. A missing element informing the policy debate has been the comparative assessment of the societal and ecological costs and benefits of: a) large-scale conversion of forest for alternative (and frequently capital intensive) land-use, with b) small-scale land conversion and/or forest product commercialization, and c) the maintenance of customary uses of the forested lands. Additionally, whether land-use change and intensification is large or small in scale, or whether forest resources are privatized or managed under a common property regime, the transformation has an impact on, and interacts with ecosystem services from those forest commons that remain.
This special issue will explore the drivers contributing to the transformation of forests into small and large-scale land-use systems and their impacts on society and the environment. Submissions comparing both local and national/regional case studies are welcome. This special issue will focus on studies from the greater Mekong and Himalayan regions of Asia.
Dr. Aaron J.M. Russell
Dr. Krystof Obidzinski
Dr. Harpinder Sandhu
Manuscript Submission Information
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Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.
Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.
- land-use change
- ecosystem services
- forest conversion
- land concessions
- land-use intensification
- livelihood resilience
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Impacts of Land-Use Change on Ecosystem Services: A Case Study of Savannakhet Province, Lao PDR
Authors: Harpinder Sandhu1,*, Aaron J.M. Russell2 and Joost Foppes3
Affiliations: 1,* School of the Environment, Flinders University, Adelaide SA 5001 Australia; firstname.lastname@example.org
2 Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia; email@example.com
3 Integrated Nature Conservation, Thakhek, Khammouane, Lao PDR; firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Natural and managed forests are the most important global providers of ecosystem services and a significant proportion of the population in developing countries is dependent on forest resources for their livelihoods. However, ecosystem services are frequently left out of the decision making process in managing forests due to the limited information on the economic valuation of these services for local and downstream users. Moreover, recent climate projections indicate that developing countries are more likely to suffer from climate variability and change in climate patterns. Forests can play greater role in enhancing resilience to climate change and thus it is important to understand the value of ecosystem services provided by forests for managing them more sustainably. This study quantified impacts of alternative land-uses on ecosystem services in Savannakhet Province in Lao PDR. It describes an ecosystem services valuation framework and approaches to identify economic impacts of three land use types – agriculture, dry forest and plantations. This study provides as economic valuation of ecosystem services associated with these three land-use types and conclude with some policy options for the sustainable management of forest resources and livelihoods of communities.
Keywords: agriculture; ecosystem services; land-use; Lao PDR; livelihoods
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Land acquisitions, land use conflicts and the potential role of mediation in transforming conflict in Cambodia
Authors: Ahmad Dhiaulhaq *, James Bampton, Toon De Bruyn, Julian Atkinson, David Gritten
Affiliaiton: RECOFTC - The Center for People and Forests. Kasetsart Post Office P.O. Box 1111, Bangkok, 10903, Thailand; E-Mails: email@example.com (A.D.), firstname.lastname@example.org (J.B.), email@example.com (T.D.), firstname.lastname@example.org (J.A), email@example.com (D.G.)
Abstract: The nature of land (and subsoil) acquisitions by domestic and transnational investors in the Greater Mekong subregion (GMS), compounded by weak governance, make land use conflict inevitable. The existing and potential impacts of these conflicts highlight the importance of effectively addressing them to firstly mitigate the negative impacts and secondly to transform these conflicts to maximise the positives. This paper aims, using case studies from Cambodia, to get a deeper understanding of how land acquisition, even if legally recognised, results in conflicts and how the resulting conflict is an opportunity for social transformation. An analytical framework was developed to identify the conflict triggers which can flag the issues that need to be addressed to transform these conflicts. Data was collected through literature review, key informant interviews, focus group discussions and field observation. The results indicate that land acquisitions in Cambodia, particularly through economic land concessions, often results in conflict between local communities and outsiders. Ambiguous property rights, overlapping claims, lack of coordination among government agencies, and lack of consultation and impact assessment were the underlying causes of the conflicts. The study found that mediation has played a crucial role in transforming the conflicts, beyond reducing the conflict intensity, reaching agreement and fostering improved relationships between the conflicting parties. The paper suggests that the large scale land projects in the GMS must address the conflict triggers to minimise conflict, and additionally include appropriate conflict transformation mechanisms, including mediation, as an integral part of their development and management.
Keywords: Cambodia; Conflict transformation; Conflict mediation; Conflict triggers; Economic land concessions; Land acquisitions; Over-lapping user claims
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Silvopastoral Systems in Northern Thailand and Northern Laos: Ethnic Minority People’s Knowledge and Perception versus Government Policy and Decision-Making
Authors: Chalathon Choocharoen1, Andreas Neef2,*, Pornchai Preechapanya3 and Volker Hoffmann1
Affiliations: 1Institute for Social Sciences of the Agricultural Sector, Rural Communication and Extension (430a), University of Hohenheim, 70593 Stuttgart, Germany; firstname.lastname@example.org
2,* Chair of Resource Governance and Participatory Development, Graduate School of Global Environmental Studies, Kyoto University, Japan; email@example.com
3Queen Sirikit Botanic Garden, Mae Rim, Chiang Mai, 50180, Thailand .
Abstract: Traditional silvopastoral systems have been an important component of the livelihood strategies of thousands of ethnic minority people in the uplands of Mainland Southeast Asia. Drawing on a combination of qualitative and participatory inquiries in nine ethnic minority communities, this study emphasizes the complex articulation of local farmers’ knowledge which has been so far excluded from governmental development and conservation policies in the northern uplands of Thailand and Laos. Qualitative analysis of local knowledge systems is performed using the Agroecological Knowledge Toolkit (AKT5) software. Results show that ethnic minorities in the two countries clearly perceive large ruminants to be a highly positive component of local forest agro-ecosystems due to their contribution to nutrient cycling, forest fire control, water retention, and leaf-litter dispersal. The knowledge and perceptions of silvopastoral farmers are then contrasted with the remarkably different forestry policy frameworks of the two countries. We find that the knowledge and diversity of practices exercised by ethnic minority groups contrasts with the current simplified and negative image that government officials tend to construct of silvopastoral systems. We conclude that local knowledge of forest-livestock systems can offer alternative or complementary explanations on ecological cause-and-effect relationships which may need further scientific investigation and validation.
Keywords: local ecological knowledge, ethnic minority groups, forest-dependent people, conservation policy, Southeast Asia
Type of Paper: Article
Title: The Rise and Fall (and Rise Again?) of Plantations
Author: Derek Byerlee
Affiliation: Independent Researcher, Washington DC, USA; firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: A key determinant of the development outcomes of agricultural commodity exports is the type of agrarian structure resulting from export agriculture. This paper will look at the period since the first period of globalization to analyze changes in agrarian structures and long-run economic growth for a few key commodities grown largely on the upland frontier, such as sugar, tea, rubber, cocoa and oil palm. Nearly all of these industries were initiated by 1900 through large plantation structures. However, over the course of the 20th century most industries have moved to dynamic smallholder systems. Three major groups of factors are posited to explain this evolution. First, for classic plantation crops (tea, oil palm) that require processing or shipping soon after harvesting, ways have been found to overcome high transactions costs of coordinating delivery of smallholders to large processing units. Second, high pioneering costs and risks of introducing new crops in new areas (or domesticating a wild species) have fallen over time, allowing inherently more efficient smallholders to rapidly take over the industry. Third, policy biases and prevailing development paradigms that initially favored plantations over smallholders have shifted over time, starting in the late colonial period. By the end of the 20th century, only oil palm was still largely grown on plantations and even there, smallholders are rapidly gaining market share. However, in the 21st century there has been a resurgence of investments in plantation agriculture in large part due to a reemergence of policy biases favoring large operations, such as cheap land concessions and credit, brought about by a growing state collusion with private interests. I illustrate these through examples from SE Asia, noting major differences in structures within the region such as the predominantly smallholder systems of Thailand and Vietnam on one side, versus the newly emerging plantation economies in Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.
Keywords: Asia, agricultural commodity, oil palm plantations, tea
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Economic Valuation of Land Uses in Oudomxay Province, Lao PDR: Can REDD+ be Effective in Maintaining Ecosystem Services?
Authors: Grace Y.Wong1,*, Souphith Darachanthara2, Thanongsai Soukkhamthat2
Affiliations: 1,* Center for International Forestry Research, Bogor, Indonesia. E-mail: email@example.com
2 National Economic Research Institute, Vientiane, Lao PDR.
Abstract: The rapid economic growth in Lao PDR over the last decade has been driven by the natural resource sectors and in particular, the commercialization of agriculture. As rural landscapes transform dramatically from mosaics dominated by subsistence and smallholder farms to commercial mono-crop agriculture in a very short timeframe, the capacity of commercial agriculture plantations to alleviate rural poverty is increasingly weighed against its impacts on ecosystem services and sustainability of land resources.
A comparative cost-benefit analysis of four land use systems in Northern Lao PDR demonstrates that commercial agriculture (rubber and maize) has some capacity to alleviate poverty in the short-run, a primary goal of the Government. It, however, exposes the land to serious environmental risks. By comparison, the traditional land uses that were studied (upland rice farming and non-timber forest products collecting) are largely sustainable practices but unable to contribute significantly to household incomes.
Results suggest that longer-term environmental costs can potentially cancel out short-term gains from commercialization to mono-crop agricultural. Also, incentives for conserving ecosystem services (such as REDD+) can have a role in supporting diversification of traditional land uses and increasing the competitiveness of maintaining forests.
Keywords: ecosystem service valuation; cost-benefit analysis; land use change; REDD+; Lao PDR
Type of Paper: Article
Title: Smallholders, Land Sharing and Small-Scale Commercialization
Author: Pashupati Chaudhary
Affiliation: Local Initiatives for Biodiversity, Research and Development (LI-BIRD), P.O. Box 324, Pokhara, Nepal; firstname.lastname@example.org
Abstract: Several thousands of smallholders across the world cultivate in the forestlands and its fringes in order to secure their livelihoods. While the majority of them perform subsistent farming, only a few produce a limited amount of surplus food to sell in the local small-scale markets. Due to lack of technologies, poor access of roads and markets, and several sociocultural and demographic (e.g. outmigration of males for job) factors the smallholders are mired in poor production and small-sale commercialization, which is one of bottlenecks for improving food security among them. Over time, the intricacy between smallholders and forest is becoming weaker, with its negative implications for quality of forest ecosystems and wellbeing of people. It is imperative to study such dynamics and suggest enabling policies for the betterment of smallholders. This paper examines on the role land sharing of smallholders with forests plays in food security, how it is changing over time, what are the drivers of such change, what implication such changes have for food security and human wellbeing, and what are the solutions. The case presented here is from the hills of Nepal, which is the epitome of the aforementioned dilemma.
Keywords: land sharing; small holder agriculture; Nepal; wellbeing