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Theorizing Land-Cover and Land-Use Change: The Case of Tropical Deforestation


  • Robert Walker

    (Department of Geography, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI,


This article addresses land-cover and land-use dynamics from the perspective of regional science and economic geography. It first provides an account of the so-called spatially explicit model, which has emerged in recent years as a key empirical approach to the issue. The article uses this discussion as a springboard to evaluate the potential utility of von Thünen to the discourse on land-cover and land-use change. After identifying shortcomings of current theoretical approaches to land use in mainly urban models, the article filters a discussion of deforestation through the lens of bid-rent and assesses its effectiveness in helping us comprehend the destruction of tropical forest in the Amazon basin. The article considers the adjustments that would have to be made to existing theory to make it more useful to the empirical issues.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Walker, 2004. "Theorizing Land-Cover and Land-Use Change: The Case of Tropical Deforestation," International Regional Science Review, , vol. 27(3), pages 247-270, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:inrsre:v:27:y:2004:i:3:p:247-270

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    Cited by:

    1. Yuzuru Miyata & Hiroyuki Shibusawa & Indrawan Permana, 2014. "Economic Analysis of Illegal Settlements in Flood Prone Areas in Palangkaraya City in Indonesia - A General Equilibrium Approach -," ERSA conference papers ersa14p527, European Regional Science Association.
    2. Yankuic Galvan-Miyoshi & Robert Walker & Barney Warf, 2015. "Land Change Regimes and the Evolution of the Maize-Cattle Complex in Neoliberal Mexico," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(3), pages 1-24, August.
    3. Indarto, Jarot & Mutaqin, Dadang J., 2016. "An overview of theoretical and empirical studies on deforestation," MPRA Paper 70178, University Library of Munich, Germany.


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