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Research Report

Agrarian change in tropical landscapes

Liz Deakin
Mrigesh Kshatriya
Terry Sunderland
Copyright Date: Jan. 1, 2016
Pages: 323
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Table of Contents

  1. (pp. x-xi)
    Christine Padoch

    We live in a time of rapid change and perplexing choices. The conversion of forests and other natural habitats to farmland continues to transform the planet. But while we bemoan the loss of forests, the world’s population continues to grow. Many believe that to feed the 9 billion people who will be on the earth by 2050, we will need to produce 75% more food than we do now. The need to grow more food has historically resulted in forest clearance. Yet, is it true that agricultural production must rise drastically just to keep hunger at bay? And must forests...

  2. (pp. 1-13)
    Liz Deakin, Mrigesh Kshatriya and Terry Sunderland

    Agricultural expansion has transformed forest habitats at alarming rates across the globe, but especially so in tropical landscapes (Laurance et al. 2014; Shackelford et al. 2014) due to increasing global demands for food, fiber and biofuels (Tilman and Clark, 2014). This has resulted in mosaic landscapes encompassing varying levels of tree cover, human settlement and agricultural production units. The expansion of agriculture has resulted in large-scale habitat loss, fragmentation of forests and simplification of natural ecosystems, causing increases in the probability of extinction in small and isolated populations of both flora and fauna (Tilman et al. 1994), significant losses in...

  3. (pp. 14-53)
    Jean-Yves Duriaux and Frédéric Baudron

    This chapter presents the results of a scoping study conducted along an agricultural intensification and forest cover gradient from Arsi-Negele town to Munessa Forest in southern Ethiopia. It summarizes preliminary research in the study area led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (Centro Internacional de Mejoramiento de Maíz y Trigo, CIMMYT) as part of the Agrarian Change Project, a multi-country comparative research project led by CIFOR. The objective was to gather information that will guide further research in the area including: characterization of the intensification gradient (context), access to resources, livelihood strategies, market access and value chains, institutional...

  4. (pp. 54-90)
    Stella Asaha and Liz Deakin

    This scoping study aims to give a preliminary overview of historical land uses, the underlying drivers of land-use change and the impacts on rural communities in the Nguti area of Southwest Cameroon. The information presented in this report was gathered through a literature review, collection of secondary data and scoping field visits. A reconnaissance survey, community meetings and participatory rural appraisals were undertaken in three focal villages in the Nguti district.

    This area has experienced a number of changes in land use over the last 100 years and is currently experiencing a new wave of change in the form of...

  5. (pp. 91-138)
    Laurio Leonald and Dominic Rowland

    This chapter examines the potential of the Kapuas Hulu Regency in West Kalimantan as a study site to examine the current drivers of land-use change in Indonesia and the effects of contemporary land-use change on livelihoods and food security. The chapter summarizes preliminary research undertaken in Indonesia as part of the Agrarian Change Project, a multi-country comparative research project conducted by CIFOR. Within the Indonesian component of the project, we focus on the expansion and intensification of oil palm plantations along an agricultural intensification gradient ranging from primary rainforest to monoculture palm oil plantations. We examine the effects of this...

  6. (pp. 139-189)
    Lisa Hansen, John Innes, Bronwen Powell, Janette Bulkan, Sarah Gergel and Ian Eddy

    Deforestation in Central America’s rain forests is a growing problem that is typically attributed to the expansion of the agricultural frontier, yet little is known about the historical drivers of migration, settlement and forest loss. This chapter presents the results from a scoping study conducted in northeastern Nicaragua in the municipality of Siuna. Siuna has a rich history of colonization and nearly the entire municipality shares jurisdiction with the Bosawas Biosphere Reserve. The study landscape is also part of the Nicaragua-Honduras Sentinel Landscape, a multi-year collaborative research program site of the CGIAR Consortium. This chapter highlights the importance of resource...

  7. (pp. 190-233)
    Ronju Ahammad and Natasha Stacey

    This chapter examines forest and agricultural land-use changes in the Chittagong Hill Tracts (CHT) region of Bangladesh. The CHT region contains more than 40% of the total forest cover of the country. Although forest resources in the region have been historically important for the well-being of the local population and the national economy, their sustainable use and management remains challenging.

    As part of the Agrarian Change Project led by CIFOR, we conducted a pilot study to examine land-use practices, livelihood patterns, resource tenure and ownership, institutional settings and conservation practices in three districts in the CHT region. We identified three...

  8. (pp. 234-268)
    Davison J Gumbo, Kondwani Y Mumba, Moka M Kaliwile, Kaala B Moombe and Tiza I Mfuni

    Over the past decade issues pertaining to land sharing/land sparing have gained some space in the debate on the study of land-use strategies and their associated impacts at landscape level. State and non-state actors have, through their interests and actions, triggered changes at the landscape level and this report is a synthesis of some of the main findings and contributions of a scoping study carried out in Zambia as part of CIFOR’s Agrarian Change Project. It focuses on findings in three villages located in the Nyimba District. The villages are located on a high (Chipembe) to low (Muzenje) agricultural land-use...

  9. (pp. 269-301)
    Samson Foli and Rabdo Abdoulaye

    This study was conducted in central Burkina Faso, Ziro province, in December 2014. Its purpose was to identify research sites for the Agrarian Change Project. Using a set of participatory rapid appraisal (PRA) approaches, the study staged a preliminary inquiry into drivers of vegetation cover change and agrarian change. We looked for historical trends of land modification and agricultural intensification. Six FGDs were organized with community elders, smallholder farmers, local cooperatives and a variety of forest user groups including women. Semi-structured interviews were administered to state forestry and agricultural technicians working in the villages we visited. One agricultural and two...

  10. (pp. 302-306)
    Terry Sunderland, Liz Deakin and Mrigesh Kshatriya

    Perceived wisdom suggests that rural communities with better access to markets, transportation and intensive agricultural systems are better fed and fiscally better off than those in the proximity of more isolated, forested landscapes (cf. Levang et al. 2005). But is this really the case?

    Historical evidence suggests the transition away from a forest-based economy leads to overwhelmingly better outcomes for poverty and human well-being (e.g. Sunderlin et al. 2007). From the early 1960s, pervasive growth-based theories of agricultural development based on technological change were promoted as a solution to persistent rural poverty (Mellor 1967). Yet local observers and village field...