Pham Hien, S.Turner and K. Trincsi 2015. Applying a Systematic Review to Land Use Land Cover Change in Northern Upland Vietnam: the Missing Case of the Borderlands. Geographical Research. DOI: 10.1111/1745-5871.12133
As Vietnam embraces the market economy, and a number of state policies promote reforestation and rural market integration, land use and land cover (LULC) changes are occurring in the country’s northern uplands in increasingly complex and fragmented ways. Yet understandings of the degree and consequences of LULC changes in this diverse agro-ecological region are incomplete. We conduct a systematic literature review of research reported in academic articles tracing and analysing LULC change in Vietnam’s northern regions. We find that these studies have tended to take place away from the most mountainous, northern borderlands. The studies nonetheless highlight a diversity of land use land cover changes caused by numerous causes, making the distinction of overall trends difficult. To complement and extend this body of research, we introduce recent LULC change research we have completed in the mountainous border districts of Lào Cai province, on the Sino-Vietnamese border. The heterogeneity of causes of LULC change in both the review articles and our case study points to the importance of adapting land use policies to local agro-ecological and socio-economic conditions and ethnic diversity, taking into account state–farmer relations, household livelihood decision-making, and policy implementation at the commune and district levels.
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