Institute of Social Studies

The Hague, Netherlands

Institute of Social Studies

The Hague, Netherlands
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Sikor T.,University of East Anglia | Auld G.,Carleton University | Bebbington A.J.,Clark University | Benjaminsen T.A.,Norwegian University of Life Sciences | And 6 more authors.
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability | Year: 2013

This article reviews recent research on contemporary transformations of global land governance. It shows how changes in global governance have facilitated and responded to radical revalorizations of land, together driving the intensified competition and struggles over land observed in many other contributions to this special issue. The rules in place to govern land use are shifting from 'territorial' toward 'flow-centered' arrangements, the latter referring to governance that targets particular flows of resources or goods, such as certification of agricultural or wood products. The intensifying competition over land coupled with shifts toward flow-centered governance has generated land uses involving new forms of social exclusion, inequity and ecological simplification. © 2013 Elsevier B.V.

O'Laughlin B.,Institute of Social Studies | Bernstein H.,University of London | Cousins B.,University of the Western Cape | Peters P.E.,Harvard University
Journal of Agrarian Change | Year: 2013

This introduction sketches the context and dynamics of agrarian change, rural poverty and land reform since the end of apartheid in 1994, drawing attention to structural continuities and new elements in the countrysides of South Africa, and of the Southern African region in which South Africa must be located. Two key historical and theoretical reference points help focus attention on some central issues: the 'classic' model of dispossession/accumulation in South(ern) Africa, and 'decentralized despotism' as the distinctive mode and legacy of colonial governance. In conclusion, we introduce the papers as contributions to answering some central questions which require further research and debate. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.

You L.,Huazhong Agricultural University | You L.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Spoor M.,Institute of Social Studies | Ulimwengu J.,International Food Policy Research Institute | Zhang S.,Zhejiang Academy of Agricultural Sciences
China Economic Review | Year: 2011

Grain self-sufficiency is one of the most important agricultural policy goals in China. With only modest imports, China has succeeded in feeding 22% of the world's population on only 7% of its land. However, a high price has been paid for this enormous achievement. Increase in grain yields, in particular in rice, as the main source of production growth, relied heavily on intensive use of physical inputs and increasing intensity of farming systems. Soil degradation, water scarcity, and severe pollution were among the consequences as well as declining efficiency of fertilizer application. Using county-level panel data from 1980 to 2003 and graphical (GIS-based) analysis, this paper first looks at the spatial change of the major grain production across regions over the past two decades, towards the northern and northeastern provinces. The analysis is complemented by using a random panel data model, which underscores the significant influence of land availability, degree of urbanization, and government policy on grain production. Finally, this analysis addresses environmental stress which includes both soil degradation and water shortage. The latter is already severe in many of the traditional grain producing areas, but will now become a bigger problem in the "new" grain producing areas, as these have traditionally much less water resources. Hence, while the economic rational of the "grain shift" towards the northern and northeastern regions is understandable, its sustainability is not guaranteed. © 2010 Elsevier Inc.

Creutzig F.,Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change | Creutzig F.,TU Berlin | Creutzig F.,Princeton Institute for International and Regional Studies | Corbera E.,Autonomous University of Barcelona | And 2 more authors.
Environmental Research Letters | Year: 2013

Integrated assessment models suggest that the large-scale deployment of bioenergy could contribute to ambitious climate change mitigation efforts. However, such a shift would intensify the global competition for land, with possible consequences for 1.5 billion smallholder livelihoods that these models do not consider. Maintaining and enhancing robust livelihoods upon bioenergy deployment is an equally important sustainability goal that warrants greater attention. The social implications of biofuel production are complex, varied and place-specific, difficult to model, operationalize and quantify. However, a rapidly developing body of social science literature is advancing the understanding of these interactions. In this letter we link human geography research on the interaction between biofuel crops and livelihoods in developing countries to integrated assessments on biofuels. We review case-study research focused on first-generation biofuel crops to demonstrate that food, income, land and other assets such as health are key livelihood dimensions that can be impacted by such crops and we highlight how place-specific and global dynamics influence both aggregate and distributional outcomes across these livelihood dimensions. We argue that place-specific production models and land tenure regimes mediate livelihood outcomes, which are also in turn affected by global and regional markets and their resulting equilibrium dynamics. The place-specific perspective suggests that distributional consequences are a crucial complement to aggregate outcomes; this has not been given enough weight in comprehensive assessments to date. By narrowing the gap between place-specific case studies and global models, our discussion offers a route towards integrating livelihood and equity considerations into scenarios of future bioenergy deployment, thus contributing to a key challenge in sustainability sciences. © 2013 IOP Publishing Ltd.

Buschera B.,Institute of Social Studies | Buschera B.,University of Johannesburg | de Beer E.,Golder Associates
Journal of Environmental Planning and Management | Year: 2011

The Maloti-Drakensberg Transfrontier Project between South Africa and Lesotho aims to bring about positive social-ecological change in and around the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain ecosystem. To this effect, the project has developed a long-term planning strategy that has to co-ordinate all involved actors - and their actions - until 2028. The paper describes and analyses the runup to the strategy. By combining critical 'outside' research with practical 'inside' experience, the paper argues that governing contemporary social-ecological change is severely challenged by two main fundamental paradoxes: the fuelling of short-term dynamics by neoliberal pressures on interventions; and related to this, an increasing gap between discourse and practice. In turn, we argue that these challenges manifested particularly in pressures of 'all-inclusiveness', the relation between natural and social scientists and issues of 'selection' and 'sidetracking'. We conclude that combining 'critical outside' and 'practical inside' experiences can open up spaces for engaging these challenges. ©© 2011 University of Newcastle upon Tyne.

Pica-Ciamarra U.,Institute of Social Studies | Pica-Ciamarra U.,The World Bank | Tasciotti L.,Institute of Social Studies | Tasciotti L.,The World Bank | And 4 more authors.
Development Policy Review | Year: 2015

The development of the livestock sector can contribute to economic growth and poverty reduction, but there is inadequate understanding of livestock-livelihoods linkages. This article draws on household-level data from 12 developing countries to investigate the livestock-asset position of rural households and its contribution to their income. The majority keep livestock; the less well-off are more likely to keep livestock than the better-off, but the very poor often lack the resources to invest in small animals. The key policy conclusion is that, contrary to common belief, there are no universal messages about livestock: policy needs to be tailored to farming systems, species, uses of livestock and different wealth groups. © 2015 Overseas Development Institute.

Opschoor H.,VU University Amsterdam | Opschoor H.,Institute of Social Studies
International Journal of Sustainable Development and World Ecology | Year: 2011

The notion of local (city-level) sustainable development (LSD) is explored against the backdrop of urban dynamics and the international discussions on sustainable development. Urban metabolism is a key concept used in the analysis. Overall, sustainable urban development is seen to have an internal dimension and an external dimension, even though urban jurisdictions may be restricted to the former. Sustainable cities (SCs) and policies for LSD are discussed conceptually and in terms of their operational use, with a focus on urban policies in developing and emerging countries. Examples are given of SCs in China. Cities with strategies related especially to climate change are considered separately and analysed in terms of developed-developing, adaptation or mitigation focus. Again, examples of especially 'low-carbon' cities in China are presented. From these elements, this paper extracts some elements of a (social science) research agenda in urban environmental studies. © 2011 Taylor & Francis.

Alonso-Fradejas A.,Institute of Social Studies
Canadian Journal of Development Studies | Year: 2012

Domestic and international capital controlling Guatemala's sugarcane and oil palm industries are deploying a dual investment strategy in the context of global financial, energy, food and environmental crises. They allocate current booming revenues to high-cost, long-term investments and they open and adapt new territories for cultivation. Under a new "extractivist governmentality", corporate land grabs aim to control land and natural resources as well as land-based wealth and the labour that produces it. Land ownership is being (re)concentrated and social relations reshaped: compensation to dispossessed indigenous peasants for their land is insufficient to boost non-farm livelihoods or to regain access to land. This paper describes efforts to institutionalise and legitimise this project, as well as the ongoing resistance to it. © 2012 Canadian Association for the Study of International Development (CASID).

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