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