EVENT RECAP: Young Speaker Series - April 2021

Related GLP Member: Jasper van Vliet, Mohammed El Hafyani, Huong Hoang, Anton Van Rompaey

The GLP Integration of Rural and Urban Land Systems Working Group held its second Young Speakers Series webinar in April 2021.

The series is held monthly and is a platform particularly for young researchers to present their work and to connect to each other as well as to more senior researchers.

In this second event of the Young Speakers Series, we heard from three speakers:

  • Dr. Jasper Van Vliet, "Analysis and modelling of urban expansion and intensification"
  • Mohammed Elhafyani, "Impact of recent urban expansion on the regional water balance in Morocco"
  • Dr. Huong Hoang, "Impact of tourism development on the local livelihoods and land cover change in the Northern Vietnamese highlands"

Watch the webinar recording

Dr. Jasper van Vliet, Analysis and modelling of urban expansion and intensification (6 MB, PDF)

Urban areas are expanding rapidly across the world. Yet, similar to agricultural land change, urban change is not confined to changes in its spatial extent, as it can also change in terms of its land-use intensity. Nonetheless, changes in urban intensity are not often analyzed and missing from the majority of urban growth models. In this talk, I show some recent studies in which we mapped and analyzed urban land in terms of its intensity. Subsequently, we used the CLUMondo model to simulate changes in urban land and assess its impacts in terms of agricultural land change in China, and exposure to river flood risk in Southeast Asia. The latter study, for example, shows that in Cambodia and Laos, the increase in flood risk was highest for the urban intensification scenario, while in Myanmar, Thailand, and Cambodia, the increase was highest in the expansion scenario.

References to papers presented:

  • Li, van Vliet, Ke, Verburg (2019) Mapping settlement systems in China and their change trajectories between 1990 and 2010. Habitat International 94: 102069.
  • Tierolf, de Moel, van Vliet (2021) Modeling urban development and its exposure to river flood risk in Southeast Asia. Computers, Environment and Urban Systems 87: 101620.
  • Van Vliet, Gradinaru, Verburg, and Hersperger (2019) Beyond the rural-urban dichotomy: Towards more nuanced analysis of changes in built-up land. Computers, Environment and urban systems 74: 41-49.
  • Van Vliet, Birch-Thomsen, Gallardo, Hemereijckx, Hersperger, Li, Tumwesigye, Twongyirwe, van Rompaey (2020) Bridging the rural-urban dichotomy in land use science. Journal of Land Use Science 15(5): 585-591
  • Wang, van Vliet, Debonne, Verburg (2020) Settlement changes after peak population: Land system projections for China until 2050. Landscape and Urban Planning 209: 104045.

Mohammed El Hafyani, Impact of recent urban expansion on the regional water balance in Morocco (3 MB, PDF)

My talk is based on a paper that aims to develop a method to assess regional water balances using remote sensing techniques in the Boufakrane river watershed, Meknes Region (Morocco). By means of supervised classification procedures the following land cover categories could be mapped: forests, bare soil, arboriculture, arable land and urban area. For each of these categories a water balance was developed for the different time periods, taking into account changing management and consumption patterns. The land cover maps were combined with the land cover specific water balances resulting in a total water balance for the selected catchment. The results showed that urban areas, natural vegetation, arboriculture and cereals increased by 183.74%, 12.55%, 34.99 and 48.77% respectively while forests and bare soils decreased by 78.65% and 16.78% respectively. On the other hand, water consumption has increased significantly due to the Meknes city growth, the arboriculture expansion and the new crops’ introduction in the arable areas.

Dr. Hoang Thi Thu Huong, Impact of tourism development on the local livelihoods and land cover change in the Northern Vietnamese highlands (4 MB, PDF)

In the 1990s, some districts in the Northern Vietnamese highlands were opened for international tourism. The development of tourism was expected to bring a new income source to remote mountain areas. The talk is based on a paper that analyzes the association between tourism development, local livelihoods and land cover change at the household level. Sa Pa district was selected as a case study. In 25 rural villages within Sa Pa, 487 households were interviewed. This allowed us to classify rural households in three livelihood types: (1) full-time farming, (2) farming with limited involvement in tourism and (3) farming and major involvement in tourism activities. Next, the association between tourism and land cover change at the household level was quantified. The results show that the introduction of tourism increased the living standard of the ethnic minorities and led to more intensive farming systems with forest regrowth on abandoned fields. Nevertheless, the involvement in tourism is location dependent.

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