Analysis of land use drivers at the watershed and household level: linking two paradigms at the Philippine forest fringe

K.P. Overmars, P.H. Verburg

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106 Citations (Scopus)


Land use and land cover change (LUCC) is the result of the complex interactions between behavioural and structural factors (drivers) associated with the demand, technological capacity, social relations and the nature of the environment in question. Although no general theory of land use change exists, different disciplinary theories can help us to analyse aspects of LUCC in specific situations. However, paradigms and theories applied by the different disciplines are often difficult to integrate and their specific research results do not easily combine into an integrated understanding of LUCC. Geographical approaches often aim to identify the location of LUCC in a spatially explicit way, while socio-economic studies aim to understand the processes of LUCC, but often lack spatial context and interactions. The objective of this study is to integrate process information from a socio-economic study into a geographical approach. First, a logistic regression analysis is performed on household survey data from interviews. In this approach the occurrence of the land use types corn, wet rice and banana is explained by a set of variables that are hypothesised to be explanatory for those land use types, with fields as the unit of analysis. The independent variables consist of household characteristics, like ethnicity and age, and plot and field information, like tenure, slope and travel time. The results of these analyses are used to identify key variables explaining land use choice, which subsequently are also collected at watershed level, using maps, census data and remote sensing imagery. Logistic regression analysis of this spatial dataset, where a ten percent sample of a 50 by 50 m grid was analysed, shows that the key variables identified in the household analysis are also important at the watershed level. Important drivers in the study area are, among others, slope, ethnicity, accessibility and place of birth. The differences in the contribution of the variables to the models at household and watershed level can be attributed to differences in spatial extent and data representation. Comparing the model with a mainstream geographical approach indicates that the spatial model informed by the household analysis gives a better insight in the actual processes determining land use than the mainstream geographic approach
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)125-152
JournalInternational Journal of Geographical Information Science
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2005


  • tropical deforestation
  • proximate causes
  • use patterns
  • cover change
  • costa-rica
  • model
  • technology
  • adoption
  • systems
  • amazon


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