Case Studies


  • The land use problem: Poor growth in the agricultural sector caused by land degradation, increased droughts and floods, inadequate markets and marketing infrastructure, and lack of coherent policies. With an increaseing population, available land per capita is in decline leading to uneconomic land fragmentation.
  • The case study area: Land ownership in Narok is mainly trust land, but freehold, communal, family ranches or group ranches also occur. The main population in the district depends on mixed farming and pastoral activities for their livelihood. Most of the land in Kenya is arid and semi-arid and mainly used for extensive livestock rearing and wildlife. About 87% of the people live in rural areas and rely on land for their livelihoods.
  • Policies for assessment: The land tenure policies which hold protected private land rights at the expense of the customary land tenure holders have an important impact in this area and will be a focus for assessement. The sectoral policies aiming at the transformation of agriculture into a profitable activity encouraging small scale farmers to shift from subsistence to market oriented production is also an important focus.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The study will seek to generate knowledge that will inform the government in terms of the effects of the various land tenure systems on land use and resource sustainability.


  • The land use problem: Droughts in the Sahel area and particularly in Mali have caused people to migrate to the Office dy Niger. The situation has led to competition over land, deforestation and water pollution as well as a need for more food production. Extension policies and privatization of land have been implemented by the government with the aim to bring food security.
  • The case study area: “Office du Niger” was created in 1932 to develop irrigated cotton and rice farming. The regulated “Markala” dam located on the Niger river was made for the irrigation of almost 2 million ha land. The population is primarily rural and the land use sector is agriculture. The population growth (about 3% p.a.) is primarily due to immigration.
  • Policies for assessment: The land expansion policy and other land tenure policies is the primary focus for assessement. Policies to develop and manage the rural area will be included as drivers in the study.
  • Knowledge to be gained: Socio-economic and environmental impacts of land use policies in the Office du Niger.


  • The land use problem: Changes in sedentarization, and the rise of the agricultural influence supported by the acceleration of land privatization lead to processses of land fragmentation and land degradation. Due to increasing human needs and agricultural development, the pressures on natural resources are very high.
  • The case study area: The Oum Zessar watershed presents socio-economic and geopolitical interest as it profited from various development programs. The watershed is arid and receives less than 200 mm of rain year. The area is subjected to winds which accelerate the evapotranspiration and cause soil erosion. Pastoralism and soil conservation techniques are forms of human adaptation in this state.
  • Policies for assessment: The case study will primarily focus on the environmental policies; “Water and soil conservation strategies”, and the “policy of saving water and incentives to the irrigation”.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The study seeks to help decision makers and local stakeholders to carry out an ex-ante assessment of the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of land use policies, in order to find a compromise and a synergy between economic and natural resource use and environmental conservation


  • The land use problem: The Taihu Lake is well-known for the beauty of the area. It is also an important drinking water source for the large and medium-sized cities within the basin. Since 1980s, the water quality of major rivers running into the lake, and of the lake itself, have become seriously polluted, and the eutrophication of water has become a major environmental problem.
  • The case study area: The drainage basin contains 37 major or medium sized cities and the basin is composed of ports and rivers. The basin is agriculturaly productive and an economically important region in China. The gross domestic product in the basin accounts for 10% of China although it occupies less than 0.4% of the total territory. There are two types of water pollution, point source- and non-point source pollution; the latter is the major source of environmental degradation.
  • Policies for assessment: Important and relevant policies in the area include resource oriented policies whose purpose is the appropriate utilization and protection of water and soil resources.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The objective is to identify and quantify the different sources for the non-point pollution. The aim is to perform a sustainable impact assessment (SIA) which will assess the impact of a chosen policy instrument on crop yields, farmer’s income , nitrate leaching , water pllution and other indicators selected.


  • The land use problem: The state of Karnataka is witnessing commercialization in the agricultural sector in input application, choice of crops and marketing of crops. The inherent risks involved in cultivation of input intensive commercial crops are high especially when faced with land degradation problems, and fledgling marked based institutions that fail to provide safety. The most important symptoms of this agrarian distress are the tragdy of farmer suicides and consistently increasing agricultural fallows.
  • The case study area: The case study will be undertaken in the Bijapur district in the state of Karnataka. The state is a typical example of the high economic growth India has witnessed after liberalization, but at the same time it also exemplifies the nature of the agrarian distress begin witnessed in the country.
  • Policies for assessment: The land expansion policy and other land tenure policies are the primary focus for assessement. Policies to develop and manage the rural area will be included as drivers in the study.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The objective of the study is to identify the major agricultural land use trends and analyze them in the context of the prevailing policy regime to identify land use drivers and to draw inferences on the impact of policy on sustainable land use and poverty reduction.


  • The land use problem: The main issue is uncontrolled land-use change which includes deforestation, and land conversion from agriculture to non-agriculture lands. Due to human migration more land is needed for settlement, and agricultural land is changed to urban land.The rural areas have problems related to land degradation and illegal logging.
  • The case study area: The province of Yogyakarta special region (D.I.Y) is located at the centre of Java Island. The economic and socio-cultural (tourism and education) resources in DIY bring economic, population and social growth. The population density is 787 person per km2 and the annual growth rate is 1.88%. This region also faces potential natural hazards of volcanic eruptions, earth quakes, floods, and tsunamis, land slide and drought.
    Policies for assessment: The relevant policies for assessment and evaluation in the study include planning policies, development policies and agricultural policies.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The aim is to identify a specific land use policy for the reduction of deforesation and land degradation. The object of the policy is to manage the cathment area and maintain sustainable agricultural and plantation land use.


  • The land use problem: The issue is linked to the planned paving of highway BR-163 road linking Cuiabá to Santarém in Amazonia. The planned paving has caused intense migration into the area, causing and grabbing and land speculation, and intensifying social conflicts. This area in the Amazonia is a melting pot of social gropus and interests which expresses the complex process of the occupation of the rain forest without a previous long term plan.The Amazon is further the most threatened region by deforestation and fires in Brazil, causing loss of biodiversity and the biggest source of greenhouse gas emission in the country. Much of the conflicts have arisen mainly due to: poor law enforcements, incipient inspections and the remoteness of the area from the main urban areas of Brazil.
  • The case study area: BR-163 is a federal highway of 1.780 km that crosses part of the states of Mato Grosso and Pará. It was built in 1974 and opened for the traffic in all its extension in 1976. 956km are still not paved and the overall conditions are very bad. It is in many cases the only means of communication for the local population.
  • Policies for assessment: The most relevant public policies that affect Amazonia can be grouped as follows: protected lands (conservation and sustainable use areas, and indigenous lands); colonization and land reform programs; and Infrastructure (road-building/paving, and hydroelectric power plants). Policies to develop and manage the rural area will be included as drivers in the study.
  • Knowledge to be gained: The project aims to explore synergies between economic growth and environmental conservation in the region.
By Hilde H. Holsten
Published Sep. 20, 2011 1:36 PM