A growing number of regions in the developing world are targeted by transnational investors who are acquiring large amounts of land and natural resources. Driven by the increasing global demand for agricultural products, such investments are often considered an opportunity for economic development in the target country. However, there are concerns about the social and environmental impacts on local communities. In this brief review, we discuss some key socio-environmental controversies surrounding large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). LSLAs often target common property systems and lead to privatization and commodification of land through long-term land concessions. There is a debate between supporters of foreign land investments as a means to attract modern agricultural technology that would decrease the yield gap in underperforming agricultural land and those who question such a development model because it is seldom coupled with policy instruments that would ensure that the benefits improve food security in local populations. Large-scale land investments displace a variety of systems of production ranging from small-scale farming to (arguably) “unused” land such as forests and savannas on which local communities often depend. Moreover, LSLAs entail an appropriation of water resources that may negatively impact local farmers or downstream human and natural systems. In most cases, investors keep the land fallow but, when they put it under productive use, they typically change land cover and land use to start intensified commercial farming, often for nonfood crops. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

New frontiers of land and water commodification: socio-environmental controversies of large-scale land acquisitions

Rulli, Maria Cristina;
2017-01-01

Abstract

A growing number of regions in the developing world are targeted by transnational investors who are acquiring large amounts of land and natural resources. Driven by the increasing global demand for agricultural products, such investments are often considered an opportunity for economic development in the target country. However, there are concerns about the social and environmental impacts on local communities. In this brief review, we discuss some key socio-environmental controversies surrounding large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). LSLAs often target common property systems and lead to privatization and commodification of land through long-term land concessions. There is a debate between supporters of foreign land investments as a means to attract modern agricultural technology that would decrease the yield gap in underperforming agricultural land and those who question such a development model because it is seldom coupled with policy instruments that would ensure that the benefits improve food security in local populations. Large-scale land investments displace a variety of systems of production ranging from small-scale farming to (arguably) “unused” land such as forests and savannas on which local communities often depend. Moreover, LSLAs entail an appropriation of water resources that may negatively impact local farmers or downstream human and natural systems. In most cases, investors keep the land fallow but, when they put it under productive use, they typically change land cover and land use to start intensified commercial farming, often for nonfood crops. Copyright © 2017 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.
2017
deforestation; land degradation; land grabbing; large-scale land acquisitions; water grabbing; Environmental Chemistry; Development3304 Education; 2300; Soil Science
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1046342
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