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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.

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Templeton, Scott R. & Scherr, Sara J., 1997. "Population pressure and the microeconomy of land management in hills and mountains of developing countries:," EPTD discussion papers 26, International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).
  • Handle: RePEc:fpr:eptddp:26
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    Cited by:

    1. 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.
    2. Kazianga, Harounan & Masters, William A., 2002. "Investing in soils: field bunds and microcatchments in Burkina Faso," Environment and Development Economics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 7(03), pages 571-591, July.
    3. 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).
    4. Getnet, Kindie & Pfeifer, Catherine & MacAlister, Charlotte, 2014. "Economic incentives and natural resource management among small-scale farmers: Addressing the missing link," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 1-7.
    5. 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.
    6. Boris E. Bravo-Ureta & Daniel Solís & Horacio Cocchi & Ricardo E. Quiroga, 2006. "The impact of soil conservation and output diversification on farm income in Central American hillside farming," Agricultural Economics, International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 35(3), pages 267-276, November.
    7. 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).
    8. 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.
    9. 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.
    10. 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.
    11. 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).
    12. Tefera, B. & Ayele, Gezahegn & Atnafe, Y. & Jabbar, Mohammad A. & Dubale, P., 2002. "Nature and causes of land degradation in Oromiya region, Ethiopia – a review," Research Reports 182886, International Livestock Research Institute.
    13. 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).

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