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Population pressure and the microeconomy of land management in hills and mountains of developing countries:

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  • Templeton, Scott R.
  • Scherr, Sara J.
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    Abstract

    Concerns about harmful environmental impacts are frequently raised in research and policy debates about population growth in the hills and mountains of developing countries. Although establishing wildlife corridors and biosphere reserves is important for preserving selected biodiverse habitats, for the vast majority of hilly-mountainous lands, the major ecological concerns are for the sustainability of local production systems and for watershed integrity. What matters for sustained use of those lands not only is the number of producers but also what, where and how they produce. Evidence from empirical research indicates that population growth in hills and mountains can lead to land enhancement, degradation, or aspects of both. This can be explained by extending induced innovation theory to address environmental impacts of intensification. Increases in the labor-land endowment ratios of households and in local land demand and labor supply make the opportunity cost of land relative to labor increase. As a result, people use hilly-mountainous land resources more intensively for production and consumption, thus tending to deplete resources and significantly alter habitats. But, at the same time, capital- and labor-intensive methods of replenishing or improving soil productivity may become economically more attractive, production systems that enhance the land if the expected discounted returns are greater than those of systems that degrade the land. Users will choose production systems that enhance the land if the expected discounted returns are greater than those of systems that degrade the land. In addition to population change, other factors—market conditions, local institutions and organizations, information and technology about resource management, and local ecological conditions—determine the returns from various production systems.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) in its series EPTD discussion papers with number 26.

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    Date of creation: 1997
    Date of revision:
    Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:26

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    Keywords: Environmental impact analysis.; Population density.;

    References

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    1. White, T Anderson & Runge, C Ford, 1994. "Common Property and Collective Action: Lessons from Cooperative Watershed Management in Haiti," Economic Development and Cultural Change, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(1), pages 1-41, October.
    2. Kumar, Shubh K. & Hotchkiss, David, 1988. "Consequences of deforestation for women's time allocation, agricultural production, and nutrition in hill areas of Nepal:," Research reports 69, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    3. LaFrance, Jeffrey T., 1992. "Do Increased Commodity Prices Lead To More Or Less Soil Degradation?," Australian Journal of Agricultural Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 36(01), April.
    4. Bilsborrow, Richard E., 1987. "Population pressures and agricultural development in developing countries: A conceptual framework and recent evidence," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 15(2), pages 183-203, February.
    5. Scherr, Sara J. & Hazell, P. B. R., 1994. "Sustainable agricultural development strategies in fragile lands:," EPTD discussion papers 1, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    6. Robert T. Deacon, 1994. "Deforestation and the Rule of Law in a Cross-Section of Countries," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 70(4), pages 414-430.
    7. Clay, Daniel C. & Byiringiro, Fidele Usabuwera & Kangasniemi, Jaakko & Reardon, Thomas & Sibomana, Bosco & Uwamariya, Laurence & Tardif-Douglin, David, 1996. "Promoting Food Security in Rwanda through Sustainable Agricultural Productivity: Meeting the Challenges of Population Pressure, Land Degradation, and Poverty," Food Security International Development Policy Syntheses 11425, Michigan State University, Department of Agricultural, Food, and Resource Economics.
    8. Edward B. Barbier, 1990. "The Farm-Level Economics of Soil Conservation: The Uplands of Java," Land Economics, University of Wisconsin Press, vol. 66(2), pages 199-211.
    9. Michael Kevane, 1996. "Agrarian Structure and Agricultural Practice: Typology and Application to Western Sudan," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 78(1), pages 236-245.
    10. Current, Dean & Lutz, Ernst & Scherr, Sara J, 1995. "The Costs and Benefits of Agroforestry to Farmers," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 10(2), pages 151-80, August.
    11. Garcia-Barrio, Raul & Garcia-Barrios, Luis, 1990. "Environmental and technological degradation in peasant agriculture: A consequence of development in Mexico," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 18(11), pages 1569-1585, November.
    12. Grepperud, Sverre, 1996. "Population Pressure and Land Degradation: The Case of Ethiopia," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 30(1), pages 18-33, January.
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    Cited by:
    1. Zaal, Fred & Oostendorp, Remco H., 2002. "Explaining a Miracle: Intensification and the Transition Towards Sustainable Small-scale Agriculture in Dryland Machakos and Kitui Districts, Kenya," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1271-1287, July.
    2. Böhm, Nicole, 2002. "Desertifikation: zu den Schwierigkeiten der Implementation der UN-Konvention Fallstudie Nambia," Discussion Papers, Research Professorship Environmental Policy FS II 02-407, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
    3. Pender, John L., 1999. "Rural population growth, agricultural change and natural resource management in developing countries: a review of hypotheses and some evidence from Honduras," EPTD discussion papers 48, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    4. Pender, John L. & Scherr, Sara J., 1999. "Organizational development and natural resource management: evidence from central Honduras," EPTD discussion papers 49, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    5. Muller, Daniel & Zeller, Manfred, 2002. "Land use dynamics in the central highlands of Vietnam: a spatial model combining village survey data with satellite imagery interpretation," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 27(3), pages 333-354, November.
    6. Pender, John L. & Scherr, Sara J. & Durón, Guadalupe, 1999. "Pathways of development in the hillsides of Honduras: causes and implications for agricultural production, poverty, and sustainable resource use," EPTD discussion papers 45, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
    7. Kazianga, Harounan & Masters, William A., 2001. "Investing In Soils: Field Bunds And Microcatchments In Burkina Faso," 2001 Annual meeting, August 5-8, Chicago, IL 20483, American Agricultural Economics Association (New Name 2008: Agricultural and Applied Economics Association).
    8. Pender, John L., 1998. "Population growth, agricultural intensification, induced innovation and natural resource sustainability: An application of neoclassical growth theory," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 19(1-2), pages 99-112, September.
    9. Templeton, Scott R. & Scherr, Sara J., 1999. "Effects of Demographic and Related Microeconomic Change on Land Quality in Hills and Mountains of Developing Countries," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 27(6), pages 903-918, June.
    10. Seebens, Holger, 2008. "One size fits all? Female Headed Households, Income Risk, and Access to Resources," 2008 International Congress, August 26-29, 2008, Ghent, Belgium 43609, European Association of Agricultural Economists.

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