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Investigating the spatial pattern of a commodity boom through land system modelling - a case study from Laos. [ID489]

Ornetsmüller C., Castella J.C., Thanichanon P., Lestrelin G., Verburg P.. 2019. Bern : Global Land Programme, 1 p.. Open Science Meeting of the Global Land Programme OSM2019. 4, 2019-04-21/2019-04-24, Bern (Suisse).

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 (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. Using a spatial land system model, we examined in three experiments in how far different factors contributed to the spatial pattern of the maize boom between 2000 and 2016 in Sayaboury Province, Laos. The factors tested included land productivity, farm gate price, travel time to trader companies, 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 geographic and economic factors was not sufficient to explain the spatial pattern of the crop boom. Interestingly though, increases in land productivity had the largest effect on model performance regarding the spatial extent of the maize boom. Thus, we conclude that the introduction of a series of techniques to increase agricultural productivity (i.e. hybrid maize cultivars, herbicides, mechanical tillage and sowing) were crucial for the boom to unfold. We outline implications of our findings for governance bodies that are faced with crop booms.

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