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Land Use and Resource Management at the Agricultural - Forest Frontier

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LARMAR (Land Use and Resource Management at the Agricultural - Forest Frontier)

Période du rapport: 2017-05-02 au 2019-05-01

In this Fellowship, I aimed to explore the inter-relationships between land use activities for commodity production and conservation initiatives in order to determine how sustainable land use/ practices can be created and strengthened over time. The LARMAR project addressed these issues, which are complex and interrelated, characterised by feedbacks and lie at the interface of the study of human-environment interactions.

A major driver of tropical deforestation is agriculture, as well as land speculation, driven by local and international demand. Land use and agricultural practices are the consequence of a variety of interrelated social, economic and environmental factors, yet interpretations of how these factors interact to stimulate deforestation vary widely. The aim of the LAMAR project was thus to compare ‘top-down’ with ‘bottom-up’ approaches to land use initiatives/approaches and the governance processes associated with these. LAMAR developed an in-depth study through the objectives: explore synergies, conflicts and trade-offs between selected land use practices, e.g. smallholder (but not exclusively) farming systems and conservation, and their ability to deliver equitable outcomes in the regions they are implemented. Targeted fieldwork was carried out in two locations - based on a scoping phase - to investigate smallholder cocoa and oil palm production in Ghana and forest management in Indonesia. To understand these aspects, the project considered the discourses, practices and social relationships around land use which were unfolding within the 'realpolitik' of a studied region and looked at the potential for ‘hybrid’ policies (public/private).

The project contributed to research on the development of sustainable forestry, commodity production and local livelihoods. It can aid in policy formation and sustainable business practices for the regions under study and beyond. In addition, the record of publications, transfer of knowledge and the overall research objectives of the project were fully achieved with some adjustment in timelines– as is expected in academic research – which reflected the progress of the work and the availability and constraints of researchers involved.
"Dissemination measures:

The results from the research have been presented in several scientific conferences, stakeholder and dissemination forums e.g. several workshops and meetings as part of the III Latin American Congress of Political Ecology held in March 2019, Bahia, Brazil.


Peer-reviewed publications and conferences, related to project outputs:
1. Maguire- Rajpaul, V and Khatun, K ( under review ). Adaptive Capacity of Ghanaian Cocoa Farmers to Climate Change. Frontiers: Climate-smart Food Systems. Open access

2. Khatun, K., Maguire- Rajpaul, V., Asante, E and McDermott, C (addressing first round of reviews). Oil palm production as an equitable and sustainable livelihood option for smallholder farmers: A case study in Central Ghana. Frontiers: Land, Livelihoods and Food Security. Open access

3. Soubly K and Khatun, K (under review). The Role of Middle Actors on Land Use Policy: A Case Study in Central Kalimantan, Indonesia. Journal of Environment and Development- SAGE publishing. Green access (12 months embargo for social science)

4. McDermott, CL., Acheampong, E., Arora-Jonsson, S., Asare, R., Castro, A., de Jong, W., Hirons, M., Khatun, K., Menton, M., Nunan, F., Poudyal, M and Setyowati, A (in press). Potential impacts of the sustainable development goals on forests and the goods and services they provide: A focus on SDG 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO), Austria. Gold access

Conferences:
1. McDermott, CL., Acheampong, E., Arora-Jonsson, S., Asare, R., Castro, A., de Jong, W., Hirons, M., Khatun, K., Menton, M., Nunan, F., Poudyal, M and Setyowati, A (2019). ""Are peace and justice good for forests? An analysis of SDG 16 and its implications for forests and people"". XXV IUFRO World Congress 2019 ""Forest Research and Cooperation for Sustainable Development"". 29 September - 5 October 2019, Curitiba, Brazil

2. Kaysara Khatun, Victoria Maguire- Rajpaul, Elizabeth Asante, and Constance McDermott (2018). Oil palm production as an equitable and sustainable livelihood option for smallholder farmers: A case study in Central Ghana. Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE), 19th October 2018, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

3. Victoria Maguire Rajpaul and Kaysara Khatun (2018). Knowledge and adaptive capacity among Ghana's cocoa farmers - an assessment of extension schemes. Forests & Livelihoods: Assessment, Research, and Engagement (FLARE), 18th October 2018, University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen, Denmark

4. Kaysara Khatun, Victoria Maguire- Rajpaul, Elizabeth Asante, and Constance McDermott (2018). Oil palm production as an equitable and sustainable livelihood option for smallholder farmers: Ghana and Indonesia. South East Asia (SEA) Studies Symposium 2018, 23rd March 2018, Jakarta, Indonesia.


Kaysara Khatun and Andreas Heinemann (editors): Special issue in Frontiers: Land, Livelihoods and Food Security to contextualise this study with other research in the field
https://www.frontiersin.org/research-topics/9430/telecoupled-food-security-understanding-socio-ecological-outcomes-of-agricultural-intensification




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The 'state of the art' literature shows that multi-disciplinary research on any part of the developing world where food security and land use issues/conflicts exist is needed. This is particularly relevant in regions where biodiversity and forest cover are high, yet the reliance on forest and land-based commodities/products are the primary and often the only source of income for rural people. As such, the publications and outputs from this study go towards that aim. These address a set of scientific, policy and management issues that are critical for ecosystems and sustainability and go towards understanding the complex interrelationship within the land use sector through empirical research.

A target of the fellowship was to be policy relevant; to encourage a science policy-dialogue on the sustainable management of ecosystems/land use practices and their resources. These areas are connected by land use at the local level yet remain divided by different purposes, stakeholder interests and at times conflicting policies at local, national and international scales. The findings from LAMAR provide important information for developing long-term solutions and promoting the livelihood opportunities and environmental quality of (but not exclusively) marginalised rural communities. It strongly builds on theories of policy change and evidence-based policymaking which highlight external factors and influences as central to political decision-making. It is also complementary to climate change mitigation efforts and feeds into policy processes around securing food/resource security and sustainable development. Moreover, land use practices depend on several factors including understanding ‘good practice’ strategies such as certification of forest commodities which will be useful for businesses, NGOs, and farmer organisations. Thus, research from LAMAR will benefit society and the nature of ‘consumption’, at a time where climate change, food and resource availability are real concerns in Europe and beyond.
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