This study investigates four decades of socio-economic and environmental change in a shifting cultivation landscape in the northern uplands of Laos. Historical changes in land cover and land use were analyzed using a chronological series of remote sensing data. Impacts of landscape change on local livelihoods were investigated in seven villages through interviews with various stakeholders.
A key challenge for land change science in general and research on swidden agriculture in particular, is linking land cover information to human-environment interactions over larger spatial areas. In Lao PDR, a country facing rapid and multi-level land change processes, this hinders informed policy- and decision-making. Crucial information on land use types and people involved is still lacking. This article proposes an alternative approach for the description of landscape mosaics.
The Nam Theun 2 (NT2) hydropower project displaced 6738 people from 17 villages and 1298 households. This research focuses on four resettlement villages. Household interviews were conducted to learn more about variations in living conditions, traditions and culture in the villages that were relocated independently compared to villages in which relocation had merged older villages together. The case study suggests that most resettlers wanted to remain exclusively with their own village members.
This article examines the transition from shifting cultivation to rubber production for a study area in northern Laos PDR using an agent-based model of land-cover change. A primary objective of the model was to assess changes in household-level inequality with the transition from shifting cultivation to rubber adoption. A secondary objective was to develop explanations for the rate of rubber adoption in the study area.
Agricultural practices should modify the diversity of soil microbes. However, the precise relationships between soil properties and microbial diversity are poorly known. Here, we study the effect of agricultural management on soil microbial diversity and C turnover in tropical grassland of north-eastern Laos. Three years after native grassland conversion into agricultural land, we compared soils from five land use management systems: one till versus two no-till rotational cropping systems, one no-till improved pasture and the natural grassland.
Most of the upland areas of Southeast Asia are characterized by insufficient infrastructure, low productivity in smallholder crop and animal production, mounting environmental problems such as soil and forest degradation and loss of biodiversity, increasing population pressure, and widespread poverty, particular in rural areas. While some upland areas in South East Asia have been experiencing considerable progress during the past twenty years, others have stagnated or even declined with respect to economic, social and environmental objectives of development.
Shifting cultivation, which long provided the subsistence requirements of a large number of people in the mountains of South and Southeast Asia under a situation of low population, has been shown to be an environmentally and economically unsuitable practice. Efforts have been made throughout the region to replace it with more productive and sustainable land-use systems. Experiences have been mixed.
In Laos land concessions have increased dramatically over the last decade. To provide a window into the concessions landscape, we conducted a nationwide inventory between 2007 and 2011. In response to an order by the Lao Government to its ministries, we developed a methodology to update the inventory and complement existing data with a systematic assessment of investment quality in 2014. We investigated aspects of compliance as well as impacts on livelihoods and the environment.
Scholars have produced valuable insights on the question of recent “land grabbing” in the global South. They have, however, insufficiently studied the issue from below, particularly from the point of view of a crucial group in the land conundrum: the rural youth. This paper brings to the fore the perspectives of Laotian rural youngsters amidst a hasty agrarian transition, in which the borisat (company) –in the form of large monoculture plantations– has permeated both the physical landscape and the daily narratives of people.