Recently, vast tracts of land have been acquired by foreign and domestic–foreign partnerships to satisfy an increasing demand for agricultural products, often resulting in the conversion of forested landscapes into agricultural fields. Those conversions often occur in areas characterized by high slope angles with the potential to cause mass wasting and shallow landslides. An interesting case-study is the Licungo basin in Mozambique, where from 2000 nearly 160,000 ha of forest were converted, 17% of which occurred in areas acquired through large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). This study analyses the relationship between deforestation occurring within LSLA areas and the likelihood of landslide occurrence. To this end, we use a spatially distributed physically based model that couples the assessment of slope stability with hillslope-scale hydrological processes and evaluates the change in slope stability associated with remotely sensed forest loss. Relative to conditions where no human modification of land cover has occurred, we find that LSLAs have the potential to increase the extent of areas susceptible to slope failure by as much as 15,000 ha. We also quantified potential direct and indirect implications of such events for the food supply of local populations, estimating that 4,000 people could lose approximately 700 kcal cap−1 d−1 if all LSLAs are put under production. This study demonstrates the linkages between LSLAs, slope instability, and knock-on environmental and societal impacts. Governments should therefore take such impacts into account (in addition to those related to habitat destruction and carbon emissions) when issuing permits and concessions within forested lands.

Large‐scale land acquisition as a potential driver of slope instability

Chiarelli, Davide Danilo;D'Odorico, Paolo;Rosso, Renzo;Rulli, Maria Cristina
2020-01-01

Abstract

Recently, vast tracts of land have been acquired by foreign and domestic–foreign partnerships to satisfy an increasing demand for agricultural products, often resulting in the conversion of forested landscapes into agricultural fields. Those conversions often occur in areas characterized by high slope angles with the potential to cause mass wasting and shallow landslides. An interesting case-study is the Licungo basin in Mozambique, where from 2000 nearly 160,000 ha of forest were converted, 17% of which occurred in areas acquired through large-scale land acquisitions (LSLAs). This study analyses the relationship between deforestation occurring within LSLA areas and the likelihood of landslide occurrence. To this end, we use a spatially distributed physically based model that couples the assessment of slope stability with hillslope-scale hydrological processes and evaluates the change in slope stability associated with remotely sensed forest loss. Relative to conditions where no human modification of land cover has occurred, we find that LSLAs have the potential to increase the extent of areas susceptible to slope failure by as much as 15,000 ha. We also quantified potential direct and indirect implications of such events for the food supply of local populations, estimating that 4,000 people could lose approximately 700 kcal cap−1 d−1 if all LSLAs are put under production. This study demonstrates the linkages between LSLAs, slope instability, and knock-on environmental and societal impacts. Governments should therefore take such impacts into account (in addition to those related to habitat destruction and carbon emissions) when issuing permits and concessions within forested lands.
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
2020_Chiarelli et al_LDD.pdf

Accesso riservato

Descrizione: Chiarelli et al_LDD_2020
: Publisher’s version
Dimensione 6.42 MB
Formato Adobe PDF
6.42 MB Adobe PDF   Visualizza/Apri

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11311/1187210
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus 3
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? 2
social impact