Changing local land systems: Implications of a Chinese rubber plantation in Nambak District, Lao PDR

TitleChanging local land systems: Implications of a Chinese rubber plantation in Nambak District, Lao PDR
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsFriis C, Reenberg A, Heinimann A, Schönweger O
Secondary TitleSingapore Journal of Tropical Geography
Key themesConversion-FoodSecurity, FDI

This paper investigates the direct and cascading land system consequences of a Chinese company's land acquisition for rubber cultivation in northern Laos. Transnational land acquisitions are increasingly acknowledged as an important driver of direct land use conversion with implications for local land-based livelihoods. The paper presents an empirical case study of the village of Na Nhang Neua in Nambak District, Luang Prabang Province, using a mixed methods approach to investigate the positive and negative implications for household agricultural strategies, income generation and food security. Combining the conceptual lenses of land systems and livelihood approaches, this paper demonstrates how the land use system has changed substantially because of the establishment of the rubber plantation by the company, notably in the linkages between livestock rearing, upland shifting cultivation and lowland paddy rice cultivation. The changes go beyond the immediate competition for land caused by the rubber plantation: a penalty scheme introduced by the rubber company for damage to rubber trees caused by browsing animals has led the villagers to abandon livestock rearing, causing a cascade of negative effects on the entire land use system, especially on soil fertility, rice yields and food production.


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Journal Article