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Land Degradation in the Sahel: An Application of Biophysical Modeling in the Optimal Control Setting

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  • Vitale, Jeffrey D.
  • Lee, John G.
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    Abstract

    Low-input farming practices in many parts of the developing world have pushed cultivation onto marginal lands. Sustainability of already fragile ecosystems is threatened. Farmers place a high priority on satisfying subsistence food needs with on-farm production. Population pressure is high throughout much of Sub-Saharan Africa. Farmers in those regions are challenged by the need to put continually more food on their table over the coming years. An optimal control model was developed to investigate alternative farming practices within this setting. Namely, whether farmers would choose continued land expansion of if they would adopt crop intensive practices. The model included an environmental subcomponent to estimate the degradation costs from continued expansion onto marginal areas. The modeling activities from the Sahel of West African reinforce farmers' observed propensity to clear new land in lieu of crop intensification. Model activities suggest an important role for crop intensification under adequate policy conditions as well as the need to introduce new technology before degradation erodes its potential.

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    File URL: http://purl.umn.edu/19494
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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association) in its series 2005 Annual meeting, July 24-27, Providence, RI with number 19494.

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    Date of creation: 2005
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    Handle: RePEc:ags:aaea05:19494

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    Keywords: Land Economics/Use;

    References

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    1. Beaumont, Paul M. & Walker, Robert T., 1996. "Land degradation and property regimes," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 18(1), pages 55-66, July.
    2. Lopez, Ramon, 1997. "Environmental externalities in traditional agriculture and the impact of trade liberalization: the case of Ghana," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 17-39, June.
    3. Kuyvenhoven, Arie & Ruben, Ruerd & Kruseman, Gideon, 1998. "Technology, market policies and institutional reform for sustainable land use in southern Mali," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 53-62, September.
    4. Larson, Bruce A. & Bromley, Daniel W., 1990. "Property rights, externalities, and resource degradation : Locating the tragedy," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 33(2), pages 235-262, October.
    5. Barbier, Bruno, 1998. "Induced innovation and land degradation: Results from a bioeconomic model of a village in West Africa," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 15-25, September.
    6. Barbier, Edward B., 2000. "Links between economic liberalization and rural resource degradation in the developing regions," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(3), pages 299-310, September.
    7. Matlon, Peter J., 1990. "Improving Productivity in Sorghum and Pearl Millet in Semi-Arid Africa," Food Research Institute Studies, Stanford University, Food Research Institute, issue 01.
    8. Shively, Gerald E., 2001. "Poverty, consumption risk, and soil conservation," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 267-290, August.
    9. Reardon, Thomas & Vosti, Stephen A., 1995. "Links between rural poverty and the environment in developing countries: Asset categories and investment poverty," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 23(9), pages 1495-1506, September.
    10. Coulibaly, Ousmane & Vitale, Jeffrey D. & Sanders, John H., 1998. "Expected effects of devaluation on cereal production in the Sudanian Region of Mali," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 57(4), pages 489-503, August.
    11. Sankhayan, Prem L. & Hofstad, Ole, 2001. "A village-level economic model of land clearing, grazing, and wood harvesting for sub-Saharan Africa: with a case study in southern Senegal," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 38(3), pages 423-440, September.
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