Tarig Gibreel, Ernst-August Nuppenau:
Land Use Change in Southern China: Reconciliation Between Household Consumption Demand and Market Supply


Justus-Liebig University, Institute for Agricultural Policy and Market Research, Agricultural and Environmental Policy , Germany

Rural poverty alleviation remains a vital goal of development policy worldwide. Nevertheless, conventional ways of improving rural livelihoods such as augmented investments in agricultural intensification measures can have negative impacts on natural habitats such as forests by extensively increasing motivations for clearing. Over the past two decades, rapid land use change in Yunnan province south of China has been characterised by increasing monoculture rubber plantations in the Nature Reserve, which heavily affects the floral and faunal diversity and further deteriorates fragile mountainous ecology. Rubber has become the main cash crop for many farm households and changed the landscape as well as land culture rapidly. Meanwhile, over-dependent on one income source puts farm households in greater risk. The study focuses on construction of a linear programming model and simulation of policy scenarios compliant with local conditions to analyse local economy and suggest rational policy options. A village"=household linear programming model was developed to identify factors driving landscape and land"=use change for three different farming systems in the Southern China and to provide policy makers with potential strategic intervention options for land use. The main assumption is that farmers maximise expected income subject to annual subsistence requirements in adverse conditions. The effect of net returns of alternative land uses by village farm households was quantified. The analysis provides evidence to the relative importance of markets and provincial agricultural or rural development policies on land"=use changes nationally. Simulations from different policy scenarios indicate that demographic pressure and higher natural rubber price were found to intensify agricultural production processes, whereas introduction of increased rural wages, and reduced food crops prices were found to impede the process of forest degradation. In conclusion, some feasible to manage measures such as incentive"=based compensation policies were suggested.

Keywords: Driving forces, land use change, South China, village-household


Contact Address: Tarig Gibreel, Justus-Liebig University, Institute for Agricultural Policy and Market Research, Agricultural and Environmental Policy Senkenbergstraße 3, 35390 Gießen, Germany, e-mail: tmgibreel@yahoo.co.uk
Andreas Deininger, October 2010