Causal chains, policy trade offs and sustainability: Analysing land (mis)use in seven countries in the South

I. Nesheim, P. Reidsma, I. Bezlepkina, R.W. Verburg, M.A. Abdeladhim, M. Bursztyn, L. Chen, Y. Cissé, S. Feng, P. Gicheru, H.J. König, N. Novira, S. Purushothaman, S. Rodrigues-Filho, M. Sghaier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)


The need to enhance sustainable development of land use is more urgent than ever; specifically in developing countries where poverty and land degradation are often interlinked. To promote a common understanding of land use problems by experts, stakeholders and decision makers, it is essential to understand the system characteristics, including the complex feedbacks between drivers and impacts. To enhance sustainable development, appropriate policies need to be identified. In this paper, we analysed and compared seven case studies in Kenya, Mali, Tunisia, China, India, Indonesia and Brazil, representing different biophysical and socio-economic conditions and challenges. We analysed Driver Pressure State Impact Response (DPSIR) story lines of the land use problems, policy priorities and value trade-offs as identified by stakeholders and experts in National Policy Forums. Important drivers of land use change impacting main land use problems among the case studies were economic growth, technological development, immigration and agricultural intensification, in addition to existing policies. Of the latter the most important were related to domestic support through various forms of subsidies or access to credit, land tenure polices and liberalization policies. In the policy prioritization, the value trade-offs made by the National Policy Forums emphasize the environment rather than increased economic production. It is recognized that the environment needs to be improved to maintain and improve economic production in the long term, both in agriculture and in other sectors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)60-70
JournalLand Use Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • environmental kuznets curve
  • integrated assessment
  • ecosystem services
  • proximate causes
  • narok district
  • framework
  • deforestation
  • conflict
  • china
  • kenya


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