Direct and indirect land-use change caused by large-scale land acquisitions in Cambodia

TitleDirect and indirect land-use change caused by large-scale land acquisitions in Cambodia
Annotated RecordNot Annotated
Year of Publication2020
AuthorsMagliocca NR, Quy_Van_Khuc _, De_Bremond A, Ellicott EA
Secondary TitleEnvironmental Research Letters
PublisherIOP Publishing
Key themesEnvironment, FDI

Large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs) have received considerable scholarly attention over the last decade, and progress has been made towards quantifying their direct impacts. There is also a growing recognition of the importance of indirect effects of LSLAs, such as 'spillover' or indirect land-use change (iLUC), and the substantial challenges they pose for attribution and quantification. In fact, the relative contributions of direct and indirect LUC associated with LSLAs are unknown. This study aims to address these knowledge gaps using Economic Land Concessions (ELCs) in Cambodia, now the most targeted country for LSLAs in Southeast Asia. We leverage findings on archetypical pathways of direct and indirect LUC in Cambodia, developed through previous mixed-methods synthesis efforts, to quantify remotely sensed forest loss to specific ELCs. During 2000-2016, Cambodia roughly 1611 kha of forest, or 22% of total forest cover. Although ELCs (as of 2016) contained roughly 16% of Cambodia's forest cover (2000), forest lost within ELC boundaries accounted for nearly 30% (476 kha) of total forest lost by 2016. Furthermore, iLUC contributed an additional 49-174 kha of forest loss (3.0%-10.7% of all forest lost in Cambodia) over the same period. Thus, iLUC contributed to Cambodia's total forest loss at the rate of 11.4%-40.8% of direct LUC caused by ELCs. Such findings suggest that the total amount of LUC caused by LSLAs may well be underestimated globally. This and related synthesis research efforts can be valuable approaches for better targeting remote sensing analyses to specific locations and time periods needed to disentangle and quantify forest loss due to direct and indirect land change processes.


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Journal Article