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A Nested Land Uses–Landscapes–Livelihoods Approach to Assess the Real Costs of Land-Use Transitions: Insights from Southeast Asia

1
CIRAD, UMR TETIS, F-34398 Montpellier, France
2
TETIS, Univ Montpellier, AgroParisTech, CIRAD, CNRS, IRSTEA, F-34000 Montpellier, France
3
IRD, Institut de Recherche pour le Développement and CIRAD, UR AIDA, Avenue Agropolis, F-34398 Montpellier, France
4
Department of Economic Plants and Biotechnology, Yunnan Key Laboratory forWild Plant Resources, Kunming Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Kunming 650201, China
5
Faculty of Forest Science, The National University of Laos, Vientiane 0100, Lao People’s Democratic Republic
6
Faculty of Development Economics, University of Economics and Business, Vietnam National University, 144 Xuan Thuy Road, Hanoi 100000, Vietnam
7
Department of Geosciences and Natural Resource Management, University of Copenhagen, 1165 Copenhagen, Denmark
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 3 November 2018 / Revised: 21 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 7 January 2019
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Abstract

Reducing emissions from deforestation and forest degradation (REDD+) is viewed as an effective way to mitigate climate change by compensating stewards of forested areas for minimizing forestland conversion and protecting forest services. Opportunity costs assess the cost of foregone opportunity when preserving the forest instead of investing in an alternative activity or resource use. This paper questions the calculation method of opportunity costs using averaged economic benefits and co-benefits of different land-use transitions. We propose a nested approach to land-use transitions at the interface between landscapes and livelihoods and assessing a wide range of potential socio-ecological costs and benefits. Combining household surveys and focus groups with participatory mapping, we applied the approach in villages of Laos, Vietnam and China positioned along a broad transition trajectory from subsistence shifting cultivation to intensive commercial agriculture. By looking beyond the economics of land use, we highlight important linkages between land-use changes and livelihood differentiation, vulnerability and inequalities. Our results show the importance of addressing the impacts of land-use transitions on a wide range of potential ecological and socioeconomic costs and benefits at multiple levels. View Full-Text
Keywords: opportunity costs; multi-level assessment; agrarian transition; REDD+; Southeast Asia opportunity costs; multi-level assessment; agrarian transition; REDD+; Southeast Asia
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MDPI and ACS Style

Lestrelin, G.; Castella, J.-C.; Li, Q.; Vongvisouk, T.; Tien, N.D.; Mertz, O. A Nested Land Uses–Landscapes–Livelihoods Approach to Assess the Real Costs of Land-Use Transitions: Insights from Southeast Asia. Land 2019, 8, 11.

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