2009 Volume 47 Issue 3 Pages 287-308
This paper draws on four hamlet case studies and a broader three district study to identify land cover and land use changes in the upper Ca River Basin of Nghe An Province and the possible trigger events that are influencing land cover and land use changes. The study uses two chronosequences of Landsat TM and ETM+ imagery, from 1989 to 1993 and from 2000 to 2003, to classify the land cover and land use for the larger study area and for the hamlet study areas. This information is combined with socio-economic data that was collected at the district and hamlet level in a series of field studies carried out from 1997 to 2003. Results show that areas of mature tree cover have expanded, the area devoted to long-term swidden/fallow land use has decreased and the area under permanent agriculture and short fallow swidden systems have increased, across both of the scales studied. The analysis indicates that a forest transition is taking place at the broader three district level and also within the four hamlet case study areas. Two trigger events are identified that may have helped initiate the forest transition. One is the agriculture and forest land allocation programs that were initiated in the districts and in three of the four hamlets during the 1990s and early 2000s and the second is market influences that appear to be linked to the increase in cattle and pig raising in the case study hamlets.