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Land use dynamics in the central highlands of Vietnam: a spatial model combining village survey data with satellite imagery interpretation

  • Muller, Daniel
  • Zeller, Manfred

The paper investigates geo-physical, agro-ecological, and socio-economic determinants of past land use change in two districts of Dak Lak province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam and assesses the influence of rural development policies on land cover change. Landsat satellite images from the years 1975, 1992 and 2000 are interpreted to detect land cover in two time periods. A survey in randomly selected villages provides primary recall data on socio-economic and policy variables hypothesised to influence land use change. Secondary data on rainfall, soil suitability, and topography was obtained from meteorological stations and from a digital soil map and digital elevation model. All data were spatially referenced using geographic information systems (GIS) software. A reduced-form, multinomiallogit model is used to estimate the influence of hypothesised determinants on land use and the probabilities that a certain pixel has one of five land classes during either of the two periods. Results suggest that the first period from 1975 to 1992 was characterised by land-intensive agricultural expansion and the conversion of forest into grass and agricultural land. During the second period, since 1992, the rapid, more labour- and capital-intensive growth in the agricultural sector was enabled by the introduction of fertiliser, improved access to rural roads and markets, and expansion of the irrigated area. These policies, combined with the introduction of protected forest areas and policies discouraging shifting cultivation during the second period reduced the pressure on forests while at the same time increasing agricultural productivity and incomes for a growing population. Forest cover during the second period mainly increased due to the regeneration of areas formerly used for shifting cultivation. © 2002 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

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Article provided by Blackwell in its journal Agricultural Economics.

Volume (Year): 27 (2002)
Issue (Month): 3 (November)
Pages: 333-354

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Handle: RePEc:eee:agecon:v:27:y:2002:i:3:p:333-354
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  1. 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).
  2. Nelson, Gerald & Hellerstein, Daniel, 1997. "Do roads cause deforestation? Using satellite images in econometric analysis of land use," MPRA Paper 25261, University Library of Munich, Germany.
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  8. Pender, John L. & Jagger, Pamela & Nkonya, Ephraim M. & Sserunkuuma, Dick, 2001. "Development pathways and land management in Uganda: causes and implications," EPTD discussion papers 85, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  9. Chomitz, Kenneth M. & Thomas, Timothy S., 2001. "Geographic patterns of land use and land intensity in the Brazilian Amazon," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2687, The World Bank.
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  11. Klaus Deininger & Bart Minten, 2002. "Determinants of Deforestation and the Economics of Protection: An Application to Mexico," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 84(4), pages 943-960.
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