Land2015, 4(1), 140-156; doi:10.3390/land4010140 - published 25 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: Fire is a naturally occurring process of most terrestrial ecosystems as well as a tool for changing land use. Since the beginning of history humans have used fire as a mechanism for creating areas suitable for agriculture and settlement. As fires threaten human dominated landscapes, fire risk itself has become a driver of landscape change, impacting landscapes through land use regulations and fire management. Land use changes also influence fire ignition frequency and fuel loads and hence alters fire regimes. The impact of these changes is often exacerbated as new land users demand alternative fire management strategies, which can impact land cover and management far from where land use change has actually occurred. This creates nuanced land use teleconnections between source areas for fires and economic cores, which demand and fund fire protection. Here we will review the role of fire and fire risk as a driver of land use change, the ways land use changes impact drivers of fire, and suggest that the integration of land use teleconnections into the fire/land use discussion can help us better understand and manage the complex interactions between fire and land use.
Land2015, 4(1), 119-139; doi:10.3390/land4010119 - published 24 February 2015 Show/Hide Abstract
Abstract: The National REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation-Plus) Strategy in Indonesia highlights the importance of local participation and the reform of land tenure in the success of forest conservation. National parks are a main target area for REDD+. National parks in Indonesia have been suffering from forest destruction and conflicts between governments and local communities. This study investigated: (1) the historical process of developing the REDD+ project in collaboration with multiple stakeholders including government authorities, local NGOs, and local people; (2) the social and economic impacts of the REDD+ project on local people; and (3) the local awareness of and motivations to participate in the REDD+ project in Meru Betiri National Park in Indonesia. Interviews of stakeholders including village leaders, NGO staff, and park staff were conducted to obtain an overview of the REDD+ project in the national park. Interviews with a questionnaire were also conducted among randomly selected heads of households who participated or did not participate in the REDD+ project and lived adjacent to the national park. Our analysis revealed that participants in the project obtained the right to use illegally harvested bared lands for intercropping while planting trees to recover forest ecosystems inside the national park. This opportunity could have contributed to a drastic increase in income, particularly for economically disadvantaged people, and to the recovery of forest ecosystems. Although local people did not fully recognize the meaning of REDD+ or carbon credits, they were enthusiastic to join in managing and patrolling forests because of their satisfaction with the income generated by the national park. However, the challenge is how both the recovery of forests and income generation from the project can be maintained in a situation of insufficient funding from donors and unsettled arguments about the benefit of sharing carbon credits with local people.
Abstract: Canadian forests are often perceived as pristine and among the last remaining wilderness, but the majority of them are officially managed and undergo direct land use, mostly for wood harvest. This land use has modified their functions and properties, often inadvertently (e.g., age structure) but sometimes purposefully (e.g., fire suppression). Based on a review of the literature pertaining to carbon cycling, climate regulation, and disturbances from logging, fire, and insect outbreaks, we propose five scientific principles relevant for Canadian managed forests. Among these, a principle we wish to highlight is the need to properly account for the management-related fossil fuel emissions, because they will affect the global carbon cycle and climate for millennia unless massive atmospheric carbon dioxide removal becomes a reality. We also use these five principles to address questions of current interest to research scientists, forest managers, and policy makers. Our review focusses on total ecosystem carbon storage and various mechanisms through which forests affect climate, in particular albedo and aerosols forcings—including how disturbances influence all these elements—but also touches on other ecosystem goods and services. Our review underscores the importance of conducting >100-year time horizon studies of carbon cycling, climate regulation, and disturbances in Canadian managed forests.
Abstract: The aim of this paper is to explore possible links between forest cover change and characteristics of social-ecological systems at sub-national scale based mainly on census data. We assessed relationships between population density, poverty, ethnicity, accessibility and forest cover change during the last decade for four regions of Bolivia and the Lao PDR, combining a parcel-based with a cell-based approach. We found that accessibility is a key driver of forest cover change, yet it has the effect of intensifying other economic and policy-related underlying drivers, like colonization policies, cash crop demand, but also policies that lead to forest gain in one case. Poverty does not appear as a driver of deforestation, but the co-occurrence of poverty and forest loss driven by external investments appears critical in terms of social-ecological development. Ethnicity was found to be a moderate explanatory of forest cover change, but appears as a cluster of converging socio-economic characteristics related with settlement history and land resource access. The identification of such clusters can help ordering communities into a typology of social-ecological systems, and discussing their possible outcomes in light of a critical view on forest transition theory, as well as the relevance and predictive power of the variables assessed. Résumé: L’objectif de cet article est d’explorer les liens entre le changement de la couverture forestière et les caractéristiques des systèmes socio-écologiques à l’échelle nationale, principalement à l’aide de données de recensement. Nous avons évalué les relations entre la densité de population, la pauvreté, l’ethnicité, l’accessibilité et le changement de la couverture forestière pendant la dernière décennie pour quatre régions de Bolivie et du Laos, en combinant des approches par parcelles et par cellules. Nous avons constaté que l’accessibilité est un facteur clé du changement de la couverture forestière, tandis qu’elle a pour effet d'intensifier d'autres facteurs économiques et politiques sous-jacents, comme les politiques de colonisation, la demande de cultures de rente, mais aussi, dans un cas, des politiques conduisant à un accroissement de la forêt. La pauvreté n’apparait pas comme un facteur de déforestation, mais la co-occurrence de la pauvreté et de la perte de forêt entrainée par les investissements extérieurs semble critique en termes de développement socio-écologique. L'ethnicité se révèle être modérément explicative du changement de la couverture forestière, mais elle apparait comme un ensemble de caractéristiques socio-économiques convergentes liées à l'histoire de l’implantation humaine et à l'accès aux ressources foncières. L'identification de tels ensembles peut aider à classer les communautés selon une typologie des systèmes socio-écologiques, et à discuter leurs possibles impacts sur la forêt avec un point de vue critique sur la théorie de la transition forestière, ainsi que la pertinence et la puissance prédictive des variables évaluées.
Abstract: Severe land degradation has strongly affected both people’s livelihood and the environment in Cape Verde (Cabo Verde in Portuguese), a natural resource poor country. Despite the enormous investment in soil and water conservation measures (SWC or SLM), which are visible throughout the landscape, and the recognition of their benefits, their biophysical and socioeconomic impacts have been poorly assessed and scientifically documented. This paper contributes to filling this gap, by bringing together insights from literature and policy review, field survey and participatory assessment in the Ribeira Seca Watershed through a concerted approach devised by the DESIRE project (the “Desire approach”). Specifically, we analyze government strategies towards building resilience against the harsh conditions, analyze the state of land degradation and its drivers, survey and map the existing SWC measures, and assess their effectiveness against land degradation, on crop yield and people’s livelihood. We infer that the relative success of Cape Verde in tackling desertification and rural poverty owes to an integrated governance strategy that comprises raising awareness, institutional framework development, financial resource allocation, capacity building, and active participation of rural communities. We recommend that specific, scientific-based monitoring and assessment studies be carried out on the biophysical and socioeconomic impact of SLM and that the “Desire approach” be scaled-up to other watersheds in the country.