Rural Roads Are Paving the Way for Land-Use Intensification in the Uplands of Laos | Land Portal

Información del recurso

Date of publication: 
Marzo 2021
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ISBN / Resource ID: 
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Copyright details: 
© 2021 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article.

Road expansion has played a prominent role in the agrarian transition that marked the integration of swidden-based farming systems into the market economy in Southeast Asia. Rural roads deeply altered the landscape and livelihood structures by allowing the penetration of boom crops such as hybrid maize in remote territories. In this article, we investigate the impact of rural road developments on livelihoods in northern Laos through a longitudinal study conducted over a period of 15 years in a forest frontier. We studied adaptive management strategies of local stakeholders through the combination of individual surveys, focus group discussions, participatory mapping and remote-sensing approaches. The study revealed the short-term benefits of the maize feeder roads on poverty alleviation and rural development, but also the negative long-term effects on agroecosystem health and agricultural productivity related to unsustainable land use. Lessons learnt about the mechanisms of agricultural intensification helped understanding the constraints faced by external interventions promoting sustainable land management practices. When negotiated by local communities for their own interest, roads may provide livelihood-enhancing opportunities through access to external resources, rather than undermining them.

Autores y editores

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Castella, Jean-Christophe
Phaipasith, Sonnasack


Proveedor de datos

Foco geográfico

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