Global Land Rush
Photo: A. de Bremond, Republic of Congo

The Global Land Rush: A Socio-Environmental Synthesis

This project conducts an integrated global synthesis of large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs), a growing phenomenon in the global South as governments and transnational investors seek to secure access to land in developing countries to produce food, bio-fuels, and non-agricultural commodities. Distant connections between land systems are not new, but rising evidence indicates that such cross-scaled telecoupled socio-economic and environmental interactions as a result of LSLAs have grown stronger, with more rapid feedbacks. The overarching question motivating our research is, “What are the processes through which telecoupled LSLAs do or do not result in LCLUC globally, and with what consequences?” Our general research question translates to the following specific questions: 1) What are the timing, type, and extent of land changes (or no change) associated with LSLA deals across the globe, and how are these land change outcomes related to variations in global, national, and sub-national social, economic, political, and biophysical contexts? 2) How are the socio-economic and indirect land-use change (iLUC) consequences of LSLA deals associated with particular causal factors and land change outcomes as reported in the local case-study literature? 3) What are the linked causal factors, land changes outcomes, and socio-economic and iLUC consequences (i.e., global archetypical pathways) of LSLA land change by region and intended-use? This project will employ several cutting-edge synthesis approaches and meta-analytic methods recently advanced in the land change science literature that combine ‘interpretive’ synthesis of causal processes and consequences derived from the case study literature on LSLAs with ‘integrative’ synthesis of remotely sensed land change outcomes of LSLAs and correlated with contextual variables.

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GLP Themes: Telecoupling of land use systems, Land governance

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