Population Growth and Its Spatial Distribution as Factors in the Deforestation of Nang Rong, Thailand

Entwisle, Barbara; Rindfuss, Ronald R.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Page, Philip H. (2008). Population Growth and Its Spatial Distribution as Factors in the Deforestation of Nang Rong, Thailand. GeoForum, 39(2), 879-97.

Entwisle, Barbara; Rindfuss, Ronald R.; Walsh, Stephen J.; & Page, Philip H. (2008). Population Growth and Its Spatial Distribution as Factors in the Deforestation of Nang Rong, Thailand. GeoForum, 39(2), 879-97.

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Frontiers constitute a major source of global land cover change hot spots, with forests and grasslands being converted into agricultural uses. As such, frontiers provide an opportunity to see how people manipulate the land and their lives in the context of social, cultural and environmental constraints. This paper examines frontier settlement and land cover change in Nang Rong district, Northeast Thailand for the last half century. It uses a Cellular Automata (CA) model to explore the land cover consequences of alternative patterns of settlement in a setting where people establish dwelling units in nucleated villages and work agricultural plots that surround villages. Forested land around the center of a village is converted into agricultural uses in an inverse relationship to the distance from the village center, but frequently modified by biophysical conditions. Land at the center of the village may be reforested after the village is established as a source of shade as well as fruit and other products. Model variation in land cover change is more sensitive to the spatial reach of village households than their temporal reach, suggesting the important role that technology plays in how villagers travel to their fields (walking versus motorized transit).


Population and Environment


JOUR



Entwisle, Barbara
Rindfuss, Ronald R.
Walsh, Stephen J.
Page, Philip H.



2008


GeoForum

39

2

879-97










3195

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