Special Issue "Land Use Transitions"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2019).

Special Issue Editor

Assoc. Prof. Stephen J. Leisz
Website
Guest Editor
Department of Anthropology, Colorado State University; USA
Interests: Land-use change, land-cover change, drivers of land-use/cover changes, telecouplings, livelihood changes and land-use transitions, GIS, Remote Sensing

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The last decades of the 20th century and the first decades of the 21st century have brought recognition that land surfaces are undergoing vast changes. These changes are driven by changes in human land-use and vary from place to place, and it is recognized by many that these changes are caused by multiple interconnected drivers and are multi-directional in scope. In some places, transitions encompass changes from forest to grassland, agricultural land, or to built-up land. Transitions in the opposite direction are observed in other locations, such as the transition of grasslands and agricultural lands to forest or to landscapes dominated by tree cover. Changes in urban areas have been documented as cities expand and previous open areas within cities are filled with new construction. These land-use transitions are also bringing into question how rural and urban are categorized, as some rural areas experience transitions to land-uses that have previously been conceptually categorized as urban in nature, while urban areas are seeing transitions to land-uses that are experienced in rural areas. Consequently, clear cut divisions between rural and urban areas and associated land-uses are being questioned. The drivers of these geographically disparate transitions are recognized as being both proximate and distal, and recent literature argues that teleconnections or telecouplings are involved in these transitions.

Land is sponsoring a Special Issue devoted to land-use transitions. In recent years, land-cover changes and land-use transitions associated with these changes have been accelerating around the world. This phenomenon is found across all sectors (e.g., rural, urban, peri-urban), and is often interconnected between the sectors through teleconnections and telecouplings. As part of this Special Issue, we would like to invite you to submit case studies investigating land-use transitions that you are studying and that are taking place within one of the sectors, or are telecoupled across sectors and/or geographic locations. The deadline for submission is 30 September 2019.

Assoc. Prof. Stephen J. Leisz
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

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 monthly 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 1000 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.

Keywords

  • land-use transitions
  • land-use changes
  • land-cover changes
  • telecoupling
  • teleconnections
  • urban land-use change
  • rural land-use change
  • peri-urban land-use change

Published Papers (5 papers)

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Research

Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Crop Boom as a Trigger of Smallholder Livelihood and Land Use Transformations: The Case of Coffee Production in the Northern Mountain Region of Vietnam
Land 2020, 9(2), 56; https://doi.org/10.3390/land9020056 - 13 Feb 2020
Abstract
Coffee is considered a boom crop in Southeast Asia. However, while it bears typical boom crop characteristics in many places where it has been grown, in other places it has contributed to agrarian transformation. This paper examines the context of coffee development in [...] Read more.
Coffee is considered a boom crop in Southeast Asia. However, while it bears typical boom crop characteristics in many places where it has been grown, in other places it has contributed to agrarian transformation. This paper examines the context of coffee development in the Northwestern Mountain Region of Vietnam and describes how smallholder coffee growing has triggered an agricultural transition process, and corresponding land use changes, from subsistence-based to commercialized agriculture production. The research was conducted in a commune located in Son La province. Interviews with 46 selected households and three focus group discussions (10–15 people each) were conducted to understand changes in crop systems, corresponding land use, and labor use, due to the adoption of coffee (the boom crop). The research found that coffee has replaced swidden crops and enables a multicrop system, with less land devoted to swidden land use. The income from coffee is used to hire labor and to pay for the inputs needed to mechanize rice farming. The research findings show that the coffee boom has brought about livelihood transformation, changed land use, and transformed local livelihoods from subsistence to production for the market. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle
From “Land to the Tiller” to the “New Landlords”? The Debate over Vietnam’s Latest Land Reforms
Land 2019, 8(8), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080120 - 02 Aug 2019
Abstract
Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to [...] Read more.
Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with 20-year land use certificates, the “land to the tiller” principle remained largely sacrosanct in state policy. Planned amendments to the current Land Law (issued in 2013), however, propose a fundamental shift from “land to the tiller” to the concentration of land by larger farming concerns, including private sector investors. This is explained as being necessary for the modernization of agricultural production. The government’s policy narrative concerning this change emphasizes the need to overcome the low productivity that arises from land fragmentation, the prevalence of unskilled labor and resource shortages among smallholders. This is contrasted with the readily available resources and capacity of the private sector, together with opportunities for improved market access and high-tech production systems, if holdings were consolidated by companies. This major proposed transition in land governance has catalyzed heated debate over the potential risks and benefits. Many perceive it as a shift from a “pro-poor” to “pro-rich” policy, or from “land to the tiller” to the establishment of a “new landlord”—with all the historical connotations that this badge invokes. Indeed, the growing level of public concern over land concentration raises potential implications for state legitimacy. This paper examines key narratives on the government-supported land concentration policy, to understand how the risks, benefits and legitimacy of the policy change are understood by different stakeholders. The paper considers how the transition could change land access and governance in Vietnam, based on early experience with the approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle
Land-Use, Crop Choice, and Proximity to Ethanol Plants
Land 2019, 8(8), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080118 - 30 Jul 2019
Abstract
This paper examines how proximity to an ethanol plant influences land-use and crop choice among producers. We estimated a Tobit model of crop choice within parcels located in Central Nebraska in a 2014 sample period in order to analyze changes in land-use and [...] Read more.
This paper examines how proximity to an ethanol plant influences land-use and crop choice among producers. We estimated a Tobit model of crop choice within parcels located in Central Nebraska in a 2014 sample period in order to analyze changes in land-use and crop choice. We employed Geographic Information System (GIS) databases to access relevant data on crop choice and other land uses in the study area parcels, in addition to detailed information on the location and capacity of irrigation wells. We utilized an instrumental variable approach to account for the endogeneity of crop choice with ethanol refinery locations in the study area. Our regional model also took into account specific characteristics of the local processing markets for grains, including animal food manufacturers and livestock as well as ethanol plants. Our estimates revealed that ethanol plants alter land-use in several ways. We found that proximity to an ethanol plant increases the share of land allocated to corn cultivation up to a distance of 30 miles and that the portion of land parcels allocated to corn production falls with distance from an ethanol plant in a non-linear pattern. We also find that land allocation to grassland and pasture rises with distance from ethanol plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle
An Analysis of the Causes of Deforestation in Malawi: A Case of Mwazisi
Land 2019, 8(3), 48; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8030048 - 15 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Deforestation is recognized as a major driver of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also disturbs natural processes such as biogeochemical, hydrological, and ecological cycles. In Malawi, deforestation is estimated to be responsible for the loss of 33,000 hectares per year, [...] Read more.
Deforestation is recognized as a major driver of the loss of biodiversity and ecosystem services. It also disturbs natural processes such as biogeochemical, hydrological, and ecological cycles. In Malawi, deforestation is estimated to be responsible for the loss of 33,000 hectares per year, and is mainly attributed to agriculture expansion, tobacco growing, and excessive use of biomass. However, little research has been conducted at either the local level or that of forests located on customary land. This research aimed to identify and analyze the underlying driving factors associated with the proximate factors of agriculture expansion, tobacco growing, and brick burning in Mwazisi. Landsat images for 1991, 2004, and 2017 were downloaded from the United States Geological Survey website and used to analyze changes in forest cover. Interviews with households (n = 399) and Natural Resource Committee members, a focus group discussion with key officers, and observations were conducted during field data collection in 2017. The results of the land cover analysis showed that forest covered 66% of the study area in 1991, and by 2017 it had decreased to 45.8%. Most households depend on wood from customary land forests for tobacco curing (69%) and brick burning (68%). Furthermore, 47.6% of the households have expanded their agriculture land by approximately 0.57 hectares during the past 15 years. The interview survey and the focus group discussion identified that the underlying driving factors towards these anthropogenic activities are: (a) population growth, (b) poverty, (c) expensive alternative building materials, (d) lack of awareness, (e) lack of resources, (f) lack of commitment from the tobacco companies, and (g) market system of the cash crops grown in the area. In conclusion, a set of economic, institutional, social, and demographic factors, which are associated with imbalanced relationship between rural and urban areas, underpin agriculture expansion, tobacco growing, and brick burning, and have thereby contributed to the decline of the forest cover in Mwazisi, Malawi. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Regional Socioeconomic Changes Affecting Rural Area Livelihoods and Atlantic Forest Transitions
Land 2018, 7(4), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/land7040125 - 22 Oct 2018
Cited by 3
Abstract
Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley. [...] Read more.
Centuries of colonization of the Atlantic Forest biome in Brazil have led its native vegetation cover to be reduced to only 11.7%. On the other hand, regional land changes have fostered natural forest regeneration, since the 1960s, in the region of Paraíba Valley. A fieldwork survey in rural properties was conducted in three municipalities (n = 90, thirty in each municipality), to assess how forest transition is affected by the region’s socioeconomic development and biophysical dimensions of the landscape. To select the municipalities among thirty-four, we applied the modified Thompson Tau technique to detect outlier values for three selected variables: Natural forest cover, eucalyptus plantation cover, and municipal revenue. The outliers were dropped from consideration and the municipality with the maximum value for each variable was selected. Based on the survey and GIS analysis using land-cover maps, topography, and hydrology variables, we concluded that the diminished land-use pressure in the Paraíba Valley, a response to the regional economic development (e.g., increasing labor demand in urban areas pushing rural migration), resulted in the increase of the Atlantic forest cover. Interestingly enough, a counter-migration of people moving to rural areas as a newly valued amenity has the potential to reshape the rural landscape with positive outcomes to the Atlantic forest cover. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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