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Land, Volume 5, Issue 2 (June 2016) – 12 articles

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The expansion of soy production has come at the cost of forests in the Brazilian Amazon. Since [...] Read more.
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Open AccessArticle
Typologies and Spatialization of Agricultural Production Systems in Rondônia, Brazil: Linking Land Use, Socioeconomics and Territorial Configuration
Land 2016, 5(2), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020018 - 22 Jun 2016
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 3104
Abstract
The current Amazon landscape consists of heterogeneous mosaics formed by interactions between the original forest and productive activities. Recognizing and quantifying the characteristics of these landscapes is essential for understanding agricultural production chains, assessing the impact of policies, and in planning future actions. [...] Read more.
The current Amazon landscape consists of heterogeneous mosaics formed by interactions between the original forest and productive activities. Recognizing and quantifying the characteristics of these landscapes is essential for understanding agricultural production chains, assessing the impact of policies, and in planning future actions. Our main objective was to construct the regionalization of agricultural production for Rondônia State (Brazilian Amazon) at the municipal level. We adopted a decision tree approach, using land use maps derived from remote sensing data (PRODES and TerraClass) combined with socioeconomic data. The decision trees allowed us to allocate municipalities to one of five agricultural production systems: (i) coexistence of livestock production and intensive agriculture; (ii) semi-intensive beef and milk production; (iii) semi-intensive beef production; (iv) intensive beef and milk production, and; (v) intensive beef production. These production systems are, respectively, linked to mechanized agriculture (i), traditional cattle farming with low management, with (ii) or without (iii) a significant presence of dairy farming, and to more intensive livestock farming with (iv) or without (v) a significant presence of dairy farming. The municipalities and associated production systems were then characterized using a wide variety of quantitative metrics grouped into four dimensions: (i) agricultural production; (ii) economics; (iii) territorial configuration, and; (iv) social characteristics. We found that production systems linked to mechanized agriculture predominate in the south of the state, while intensive farming is mainly found in the center of the state. Semi-intensive livestock farming is mainly located close to the southwest frontier and in the north of the state, where human occupation of the territory is not fully consolidated. This distributional pattern reflects the origins of the agricultural production system of Rondônia. Moreover, the characterization of the production systems provides insights into the pattern of occupation of the Amazon and the socioeconomic consequences of continuing agricultural expansion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land System Science)
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Open AccessArticle
Regional Patterns of Ecosystem Services in Cultural Landscapes
Land 2016, 5(2), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020017 - 22 Jun 2016
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 4000
Abstract
European agricultural landscapes have been shaped by humans to produce marketable private goods such as food, feed, fiber and timber. Land-use intensification to increase provisioning services in such productive landscapes alters the capacity of ecosystems to supply other services (often public goods and [...] Read more.
European agricultural landscapes have been shaped by humans to produce marketable private goods such as food, feed, fiber and timber. Land-use intensification to increase provisioning services in such productive landscapes alters the capacity of ecosystems to supply other services (often public goods and services) that are also vital for human wellbeing. However, the interactions, synergies and trade-offs among ecosystem services are poorly understood. We assessed the spatial distribution of the services carbon storage, sediment regulation, water yield, crop production, timber supply, and outdoor recreation in the counties Wetterau and Vogelsberg (Hesse, Germany). These counties represent a gradient from intensive arable land use to more extensive mixed land use systems with domination of grassland and forests. Spatially explicit models were used to map the location and quantity of service supply. We addressed the following questions: (1) Where are areas of high and low supply of individual and multiple ecosystem services? (2) Where do the strongest trade-offs and synergies between different services occur? Our results show a pronounced spatial aggregation of different ecosystem services, with locations where at least four services are being supplied at high levels occupying only 5% of the landscape. Indicators for water provision, timber supply, carbon storage, erosion control, and outdoor recreation are positively related to each other, but this relationship is influenced by the trade-offs associated with the ecosystem service food production. Optimization of ecosystem services at the landscape scale has to take these patterns into account. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Fluid Waters and Rigid Livelihoods in the Okavango Delta of Botswana
Land 2016, 5(2), 16; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020016 - 11 Jun 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 2133
Abstract
Current and future impacts of climate change include increasing variability in a number of biophysical processes, such as temperature, precipitation, and flooding. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has suggested that Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to the anticipated impacts from global [...] Read more.
Current and future impacts of climate change include increasing variability in a number of biophysical processes, such as temperature, precipitation, and flooding. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has suggested that Southern Africa is particularly vulnerable to the anticipated impacts from global climate change and that social and ecological systems in the region will be disrupted and likely transformed in future decades. This article engages with current research within geography and cognate disciplines on the possibilities for responsive livelihoods within socio-ecological systems experiencing biophysical change. The paper draws from an ongoing research project that is evaluating perceptions of environmental change, specifically of precipitation and flooding dynamics, in order to understand social responses. We report on the findings from qualitative interviewing conducted in 2010 and 2011 in the communities of Etsha 1, Etsha 6, and Etsha 13 within the Okavango Delta of Botswana. While flooding and precipitation patterns have been dynamic and spatially differentiated, some livelihood systems have proven rigid in their capacity to enable adaptive responses. We assert this demonstrates the need for detailed research on livelihood dynamics to support adjustments to biophysical variability within socio-ecological systems experiencing change. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
Ecosystem Service Changes and Livelihood Impacts in the Maguri-Motapung Wetlands of Assam, India
Land 2016, 5(2), 15; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020015 - 03 Jun 2016
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3410
Abstract
Wetlands provide a diverse range of ecosystem services supporting livelihoods of many people. Despite their value, wetlands are continuously being degraded. There is scant information on individual wetlands, people’s dependency and their exploitation at a local scale. We therefore assessed wetland ecosystem services, [...] Read more.
Wetlands provide a diverse range of ecosystem services supporting livelihoods of many people. Despite their value, wetlands are continuously being degraded. There is scant information on individual wetlands, people’s dependency and their exploitation at a local scale. We therefore assessed wetland ecosystem services, the drivers of change and impacts of those drivers on ecosystem services and people’s dependency through a case study of the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands of Assam, India. Both qualitative and quantitative data were collected through household surveys, focus group discussions, key informant interviews and community workshops. The analyses showed a total of 29 ecosystem services, and high dependency on these with five out of seven livelihood strategies sourced from ecosystem services. Over-exploitation of wetland resources and siltation were reported as the major direct drivers of change with impacts on both ecosystem services and people’s livelihoods. Drastic decreases in availability of thatch, fish stocks, fodder and tourism were observed. This suggests that there is an urgent need for a comprehensive participatory management plan. Actions are needed to maintain the Maguri-Motapung Beel wetlands and the flow of services in order to sustain people’s livelihoods in the area. With an estimated 50% global loss of wetlands in the last century and the loss of 5,000 square kilometers a year in Asia alone, the loss of ecosystem services and livelihood impacts shown in our study may be typical of what is occurring in the region and perhaps globally. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Sustainability of Land Groups in Papua New Guinea
Land 2016, 5(2), 14; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020014 - 31 May 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2861
Abstract
This paper consists of a review of existing literature relating to Incorporated Land Groups in Papua New Guinea (PNG), followed by a case study of two urban incorporated land groups (ILGs) in the city of Lae. The paper is an attempt at assessing [...] Read more.
This paper consists of a review of existing literature relating to Incorporated Land Groups in Papua New Guinea (PNG), followed by a case study of two urban incorporated land groups (ILGs) in the city of Lae. The paper is an attempt at assessing the sustainability of ILGs in the country. The challenges facing the ILGs have heightened public fears that the land groups may not be sustainable. Based on the argument in previous studies that the ILGs are not sustainable, the paper used primary data from two separate questionnaire surveys of randomly selected ILG landowners (including legal settlers) and ILG stakeholders to investigate the problem. The combined sample size of 129 respondents (32.7%) was representative of the total ILG population, while a total of 25 indicators were used to test the respondents’ perceptions regarding ILG sustainability. Findings reveal that only one of the indicators received the positive support of the stakeholders, while no indicator was supported by the landowners. This suggests that the ILGs in PNG are not sustainable legal entities. This dilemma is a consequence of the challenges facing the ILGs, including the issues of corruption in the Lands Department, illiteracy among landowners, poor publicity given to ILGs’ functions, and the dysfunctional ILG legal framework. Full article
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Open AccessEditorial
Comparative Approaches for Innovation in Agent-Based Modelling of Landscape Change
Land 2016, 5(2), 13; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020013 - 20 May 2016
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1868
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.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agent-Based Modelling and Landscape Change) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Using Remote Sensing and Random Forest to Assess the Conservation Status of Critical Cerrado Habitats in Mato Grosso do Sul, Brazil
Land 2016, 5(2), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020012 - 19 May 2016
Cited by 12 | Viewed by 2477
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 [...] Read more.
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). Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Historical Changes of Land Tenure and Land Use Rights in a Local Community: A Case Study in Lao PDR
Land 2016, 5(2), 11; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020011 - 29 Apr 2016
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2727
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Toward the Integrated Framework Analysis of Linkages among Agrobiodiversity, Livelihood Diversification, Ecological Systems, and Sustainability amid Global Change
Land 2016, 5(2), 10; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020010 - 21 Apr 2016
Cited by 15 | Viewed by 3252
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Changing Land Use, Changing Livelihoods) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessEditorial
Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society
Land 2016, 5(2), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020009 - 20 Apr 2016
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1887
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.[...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Agro(Eco)System Services—Supply and Demand from Fields to Society)
Open AccessReview
Land Sector Reforms in Ghana, Kenya and Vietnam: A Comparative Analysis of Their Effectiveness
Land 2016, 5(2), 8; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020008 - 29 Mar 2016
Cited by 9 | Viewed by 4212
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 [...] Read more.
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. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Property Arrangements and Soy Governance in the Brazilian State of Mato Grosso: Implications for Deforestation-Free Production
Land 2016, 5(2), 7; https://doi.org/10.3390/land5020007 - 24 Mar 2016
Cited by 19 | Viewed by 2796
Abstract
The production of soy is one of the most important economic activities in the Brazilian Amazon, though the expansion of this industry has come at the cost of huge swaths of forest. Since 2006, the private firms that buy and trade soybeans globally [...] Read more.
The production of soy is one of the most important economic activities in the Brazilian Amazon, though the expansion of this industry has come at the cost of huge swaths of forest. Since 2006, the private firms that buy and trade soybeans globally have assumed a key role in ensuring that soy producers comply with forest protection policies, including the Soy Moratorium and public policies banning the use of illegally deforested land. We used evidence from field interviews and a GIS of property boundaries and soy-production areas to describe the private sector governance process and to characterize the variety of property arrangements underlying soy production in Mato Grosso, the leading soy-producing state in the Brazilian Amazon. These increasingly complex property arrangements include ownership of multiple properties by a single producer, use of rental properties owned by others, and soy and cattle production on a single property. This complexity could create loopholes allowing soy associated with deforestation to enter the supply chain. Comprehensive soy-governance strategies that include more robust procedures for verifying the provenance of soy across all properties, that account for the entire property rather than only the area planted to soy, and that use more transparent verification systems could achieve greater reductions in deforestation. Full article
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