Skip to main content

Developing middle-range theories linking land use displacement, intensification and transitions

Objective

Land is a nexus for crucial societal and environmental challenges including food security, access to water, land degradation, biodiversity loss, and climate change. Development of solutions to balance these tradeoffs and synergies is currently hindered by the lack of theories explaining the conditions under which different pathways of land change occur and lead to different outcomes, integrating human and environmental aspects.

This project will develop and test integrated middle-range theories explaining the linkages between three of the major processes in land systems, i.e., (i) land use intensification and expansion, (ii) land use displacement and trade, and (iii) land use transitions or regime shifts. The work will focus on the emerging agricultural frontier of Southern African dry forests and savannas, which is a threatened and understudied region, and its linkages with distant places.

To overcome current limitations, the project builds on (i) experience in empirical, place-based studies, (ii) strong knowledge of social sciences and human-environment theories, (iii) rigorous inductive and deductive approaches to develop and test theories, and (iv) new ways to analyze linkages between distant social-ecological systems.

We will analyze: (i) The strategic field of actors’ coalitions, institutions and distant linkages in emerging frontiers; (ii) Links between land use displacement, leakage, and local land changes; (iii) Pathways of agricultural expansion and intensification in tropical landscapes; and (iv) The conditions for transformative governance of land systems to foster resilient landscapes that sustain ecosystem services and livelihoods. These results will then be integrated to move towards the next generation of land system science, which will be able to develop, test and be guided by theoretical models. This will contribute to more relevant insights for social-ecological systems broadly and for sustainability and other social and natural sciences.

Field of science

  • /social sciences/economics and business/business and management/commerce
  • /social sciences
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance
  • /social sciences/other social sciences/social sciences interdisciplinary/sustainable development
  • /social sciences/sociology/governance/public services
  • /engineering and technology/other engineering and technologies/food and beverages/food safety
  • /natural sciences
  • /natural sciences/earth and related environmental sciences/soil science/land-based treatment
  • /natural sciences/biological sciences/botany

Call for proposal

ERC-2015-STG
See other projects for this call

Funding Scheme

ERC-STG - Starting Grant

Host institution

UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
Address
Place De L Universite 1
1348 Louvain La Neuve
Belgium
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments
EU contribution
€ 1 498 420

Beneficiaries (1)

UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN
Belgium
EU contribution
€ 1 498 420
Address
Place De L Universite 1
1348 Louvain La Neuve
Activity type
Higher or Secondary Education Establishments