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Drivers of households' land-use decisions - A critical review of micro-level studies in tropical regions

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  • Hettig, Elisabeth
  • Lay, Jann
  • Sipangule, Kacana

Abstract

This paper reviews 70 recent empirical and theoretical studies that analyse land-use change at the farm-household level. The review builds on a conceptual framework of land-use change drivers and conducts a meta-analysis. It turns out that the most frequently analysed scenario is the conversion of non-used forests or forested areas into land used for agricultural purposes about a third of all considered scenarios. The second largest share is accounted for by studies that look into the conver-sion of non-used forests or forested areas into ranching. Most studies analyse land-use change using household and/or village data and, in doing so, often rely on relatively small samples of 100-200 ob-servations. There is a clear regional concentration of studies on Central and South America and some studies on African countries, with only few studies on Asian countries. This is surprising, since evi-dence hints at high deforestation rates in South-East Asia due to logging activities and plantation agri-culture. We find that a number of studies face problems of internal validity because of endogeneity (simultaneity and reverse causality) and omitted variable bias that are not adequately addressed. De-spite these weaknesses, the literature points at micro-level economic growth, for example in income and capital endowments, as a strong catalyst of human induced land-use change. The rich reviewed empirical literature illustrates the complexity of micro-level land-use change processes, in particular the inter-relationships between household-level characteristics, factor market conditions, and land-use change. These are conditioned by institutions and policies. In particular, the market-oriented re-forms adopted by many developing countries in the 1980s and 1990s seem to have had an important role in altering land use, while impacts of more recent policies, like PES or REDD+, still need to be bet-ter explored. However, the empirical designs of many reviewed studies fail to properly account for this complexity. Finally, the review reveals a lack of interdisciplinary work that uses integrated data and models to analyse land-use change.

Suggested Citation

  • Hettig, Elisabeth & Lay, Jann & Sipangule, Kacana, 2015. "Drivers of households' land-use decisions - A critical review of micro-level studies in tropical regions," EFForTS Discussion Paper Series 15, University of Goettingen, Collaborative Research Centre 990 "EFForTS, Ecological and Socioeconomic Functions of Tropical Lowland Rainforest Transformation Systems (Sumatra, Indonesia)".
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:crc990:15
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    3. Michael R. Coughlan & Donald R. Nelson & Michael Lonneman & Ashley E. Block, 2017. "Historical Land Use Dynamics in the Highly Degraded Landscape of the Calhoun Critical Zone Observatory," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 6(2), pages 1-20, May.
    4. Junquera, Victoria & Meyfroidt, Patrick & Sun, Zhanli & Latthachack, Phokham & Grêt-Regamey, Adrienne, 2020. "From global drivers to local land-use change: Understanding the northern Laos rubber boom," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 103-115.
    5. Widianingsih, Nayu Nuringdati & David, Wahyudi & Pouliot, Mariève & Theilade, Ida, 2019. "Land use, income, and ethnic diversity in the margins of Hutan Harapan – A rainforest restoration concession in Jambi and South sumatra, Indonesia," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 86(C), pages 268-279.
    6. Wang, Chengchao & Gao, Bidan & Weng, Zudeng & Tian, Ying, 2020. "Primary causes of total hamlet abandonment for different types of hamlets in remote mountain areas of China: A case study of Shouning County, Fujian Province," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 95(C).
    7. Claudia Dislich & Elisabeth Hettig & Jan Salecker & Johannes Heinonen & Jann Lay & Katrin M Meyer & Kerstin Wiegand & Suria Tarigan, 2018. "Land-use change in oil palm dominated tropical landscapes—An agent-based model to explore ecological and socio-economic trade-offs," PLOS ONE, Public Library of Science, vol. 13(1), pages 1-20, January.
    8. Juliet Katusiime & Brigitta Schütt, 2020. "Linking Land Tenure and Integrated Watershed Management—A Review," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 12(4), pages 1-11, February.
    9. Yuanqing Li & Kaifang Shi & Yahui Wang & Qingyuan Yang, 2021. "Quantifying and Evaluating the Cultivated Areas Suitable for Fallow in Chongqing of China Using Multisource Data," Land, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 10(1), pages 1-22, January.
    10. Panichvejsunti, Thitiya & Kuwornu, John K.M. & Shivakoti, Ganesh P. & Grünbühel, Clemens & Soni, Peeyush, 2018. "Smallholder farmers’ crop combinations under different land tenure systems in Thailand: The role of flood and government policy," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 72(C), pages 129-137.
    11. Aravindakshan, Sreejith & Krupnik, Timothy J. & Groot, Jeroen C.J. & Speelman, Erika N. & Amjath- Babu, T.S. & Tittonell, Pablo, 2020. "Multi-level socioecological drivers of agrarian change: Longitudinal evidence from mixed rice-livestock-aquaculture farming systems of Bangladesh," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 177(C).

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    land-use change; farm households; deforestation; meta-analysis; micro-level;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • Q12 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Micro Analysis of Farm Firms, Farm Households, and Farm Input Markets
    • O57 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Comparative Studies of Countries
    • R14 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - General Regional Economics - - - Land Use Patterns
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment

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