Modelling the location and spatial pattern of a crop boom. A case study from Laos

Ornetsmüller Christine, Castella Jean-Christophe, Thanichanon Puwadej, Lestrelin Guillaume, Verburg Peter. 2019. Modelling the location and spatial pattern of a crop boom. A case study from Laos. Environmental Science and Policy, 99 : pp. 58-71.

Journal article ; Article de recherche ; Article de revue à facteur d'impact
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Liste HCERES des revues (en SHS) : oui

Thème(s) HCERES des revues (en SHS) : Economie-gestion

Abstract : Crop booms are phenomena of global environmental change that keep on occurring around the globe and frequently exploit or degrade the local socio-ecological resources (resulting in e.g. loss of biodiversity, soil erosion, indebtedness). While causal mechanisms were identified and summarized in several frameworks, the causal effects of the identified factors remained largely unknown. In this study, we set up a new application of a spatial land system model to examine the causes for the clustered spatial pattern of the maize boom between 2000 and 2016 in Sayaboury Province, Laos. The factors tested included market access (travel time to trader companies), land productivity and total net revenue (proxy for profitability), spatial differences in farm gate price of maize, slope, and soil types. While crop booms are commonly associated with high commodity prices and improved market accessibility, our simulation results suggested that the combination of the geographic and economic factors we tested partially contribute to explain the location and spatial extent of the maize boom, but a full explanation has not been found. Interestingly though, temporal dynamics, such as increases in land productivity and profitability had the largest effect on model performance regarding the size of the maize boom area (experiment 2). Productivity and profitability increased thanks to political economic support for the introduction of a series of techniques (i.e. hybrid maize cultivars, herbicides, mechanical tillage and sowing) that made maize mono-cropping disproportionally competitive over other land management. We outline implications of our findings for governance bodies that are faced with crop booms.

Mots-clés Agrovoc : Zea mays, Utilisation des terres, Déboisement, Culture itinérante, produit agricole, Gestion foncière, Accroissement de production

Mots-clés géographiques Agrovoc : République démocratique populaire lao

Mots-clés complémentaires : Développement territorial

Mots-clés libres : Commodity booms, Land use modelling, Deforestation, Shifting cultivation, Laos

Classification Agris : F08 - Cropping patterns and systems
K01 - Forestry - General aspects
P01 - Nature conservation and land resources
E14 - Development economics and policies

Champ stratégique Cirad : CTS 2 (2019-) - Transitions agroécologiques

Agence(s) de financement européenne(s) : European Commission

Programme de financement européen : FP7

Projet(s) de financement européen(s) : Integrating human agency in global-scale land change models

Auteurs et affiliations

  • Ornetsmüller Christine, University of Amsterdam (NLD) - auteur correspondant
  • Castella Jean-Christophe, CIRAD-PERSYST-UPR AIDA (FRA) ORCID: 0000-0003-3532-0728
  • Thanichanon Puwadej, Ramkhamhaen University (THA)
  • Lestrelin Guillaume, CIRAD-ES-UMR TETIS (TUN) ORCID: 0000-0001-6207-218X
  • Verburg Peter, University of Amsterdam (NLD)

Source : Cirad-Agritrop (

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