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Landscape complexity and dietary diversity: Linking deforestation and agrarian change to dietary transitions

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Presented by Josh Van Vianen at the 54th Annual Meeting of the Association for Tropical Biology and Conservation (ATBC) in Mérida, Yucatán (Mexico) on July 11, 2017. This presentation was part of the Agrarian Change Project Symposium: The impacts of agrarian change on local communities: Sharing experience from the field.
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Background: Changing demands for agricultural products driven by ongoing population growth and shifting socioeconomic demographics is leading to transitions in dietary patterns throughout the developing world. Global demand for agricultural products is expected to increase by 1% per year over the period of 2007-2050—equivalent to a 60% increase in production over the same period. Concurrently, a global nutrition transition is manifesting itself in the increased demand for certain agricultural commodities, in particular vegetable oils, refined carbohydrates and animal source foods. Smallholder family farms still dominate global agricultural systems, comprising 98% of all farms and covering 52% of agricultural land. Yet, these farms are increasingly becoming commercialized and transitioning away from diverse subsistence systems towards specialized market orientated operations leading to dramatic shifts in the scale and nature of agricultural landscapes.

Methods: How these agricultural transitions affect the environment, ecosystem service provisioning, and the livelihoods, well-being and health of local populations is a key focus of this project. To answer these questions, we have applied a novel methodological approach as part of the Agrarian Change Project which aims to explore the nature of forest loss and landscape-scale agricultural transitions in tropical forested areas across seven countries. We examine how commodity-driven changes in agricultural landscapes manifest themselves as dietary transitions at the local scale which represents an often overlooked social dimension of tropical conservation.

Results: Here we present evidence to support the notion that deforestation and agrarian intensification of landscapes can drive nutritional transitions at a local scale and that agricultural commercialization may improve food security, but its effects upon dietary diversity are yet to be fully understood.

Discussion: Understanding the roles that forests play—beyond the maintenance of biodiversity and ecosystem services—in the diversity of rural diets may provide conservationists with yet another tool to address issues surrounding land use change, rapid rural development and the associated environmental impacts.

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Landscape complexity and dietary diversity: Linking deforestation and agrarian change to dietary transitions

  1. 1. Landscape complexity and dietary diversity: Linking deforestation and agrarian change to dietary transitions Josh Van Vianen, Dominic Rowland & team ATBC Merida 12th July 2017
  2. 2.  Agricultural expansion remains major driver of deforestation  Transformation of natural systems has resulted in significant environmental degradation  But agricultural productivity depends on functioning ecosystems  Global food system is in crisis (Global Nutrition Report 2016)  Trade-off between biodiversity conservation and agriculture  Ca.60% of world’s food originates from diverse small-holder farming systems in complex landscapes  Agro-ecological approaches being advocated (e.g. IPBES 2016)  Need strong evidence-based for implementation Context
  3. 3. Agrarian Change Project: Food Security and Nutrition  Why is food security and Nutrition important?  What are the links between dietary diversity, biodiversity land use and forests  Correlations between forest cover and dietary diversity (Johnson et al, Ickowitz et al 2014)  What is driving the link between forests and diets? - Diverse forest-based agriculture? (Ickowitz et. al 2016) - Wild foods? (Rowland et al. 2017) - Landscape and livelihood effects? • Dietary quality and tree cover in Africa- Ickowitz et al. 2014 • Forest foods and their contribution to food security- Fungo et al. 2015 • Ecological approaches to human nutrition – DeClerk et al. 2011
  4. 4. Study Sites
  5. 5. Agrarian change in tropical landscapes Natural vegetation ‘Secondary’ vegetation Agricultural land Agricultural modification Treecover Photo credits: CIFOR
  6. 6. Field Methods In each zone the following methods are used: Household Surveys Focus Group Discussions Key Informant Interviews Farm Productivity Surveys Biodiversity Surveys Yield measurements Farm inputs (e.g. fertilizer, labour) Production targets Resource flow mapping Wealth ranking Food / cash calendars Nutrition assessments Ecosystem service mapping Community perceptions Tree plots Bird point counts Invertebrate trapping METHODS BiodiversityRelative poverty Nutrition Food securityEcosystem services Livelihoods Agricultural production RESPONSES
  7. 7. FOREST (CONTROL) ZONE 1 ZONE 3ZONE 2 Agricultural modification (simplification and intensification of commodities) Treecover Experimental Design A landscape-level approach, with a nested 3-level hierarchical design: 1. A landscape exhibiting changing land use practices and agrarian change 2. Three land use ‘zones’ in each landscape, a gradient of agricultural modification 3. Villages or settlements within each zone 1 2 3
  8. 8. Photo credits: CIFOR Experimental Design FOREST (CONTROL) ZONE 1 ZONE 3ZONE 2 Agricultural modification (simplification and intensification of commodities) Treecover Subsistence farming, high dependency on forest products A landscape-level approach, with a nested 3-level hierarchical design: 1. A landscape exhibiting changing land use practices and agrarian change 2. Three land use ‘zones’ in each landscape, a gradient of agricultural modification 3. Villages or settlements within each zone 1 2 3
  9. 9. Photo credits: CIFOR Experimental Design FOREST (CONTROL) ZONE 1 ZONE 3ZONE 2 Agricultural modification (simplification and intensification of commodities) Treecover E.g. Subsistence farming, high dependency on forest resources E.g. Rubber agroforestry system Subsistence farming, high dependency on forest products Extensive coffee agroforesty A landscape-level approach, with a nested 3-level hierarchical design: 1. A landscape exhibiting changing land use practices and agrarian change 2. Three land use ‘zones’ in each landscape, a gradient of agricultural modification 3. Villages or settlements within each zone 1 2 3
  10. 10. A landscape-level approach, with a nested 3-level hierarchical design: 1. A landscape exhibiting changing land use practices and agrarian change 2. Three land use ‘zones’ in each landscape, a gradient of agricultural modification 3. Villages or settlements within each zone Experimental Design FOREST (CONTROL) ZONE 1 ZONE 3ZONE 2 Agricultural modification (simplification and intensification of commodities) Treecover E.g. Subsistence farming, high dependency on forest resources E.g. Rubber agroforestry system E.g. Oil palm monoculture Subsistence farming, high dependency on forest products Extensive coffee agroforesty Intensive oil palm monoculture 1 2 3
  11. 11. Study site: Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan, Indonesia Primary forest Rubber agroforestry Oil palm plantation Oil palm concession
  12. 12. Study site: Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan, Indonesia Primary forest Rubber agroforestry Oil palm plantation Oil palm concession
  13. 13. Study site: Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan, Indonesia Primary forest Rubber agroforestry Oil palm plantation Oil palm concession
  14. 14. Study site: Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan, Indonesia Primary forest Rubber agroforestry Oil palm plantation Oil palm concession
  15. 15. Study site: Kapuas Hulu, Kalimantan, Indonesia Primary forest Rubber agroforestry Oil palm plantation Oil palm concession Photo credits: Dominic Rowland
  16. 16. Inter-country variation in landscape configuration • Unique experimental design • Will we be able to draw any broad scale conclusions? • Will the heterogeneity of the landscapes, their peoples cultures and food systems hinder wider inference? A mixed model approach
  17. 17. Photo credits: CIFOR Some interesting preliminary results….
  18. 18. Food security: The bad news (so far)
  19. 19. Forest use frequency and proximity
  20. 20. People reliant on forests are less food secure:  Zone 1 people are ~1 month less food secure on average  People in Zones 2 and 3 are more food secure but: • There is a significant negative interaction effect - Across zones two and three food security is reduced when people do not have access to or utilize the forest  Caveats • Models need refining as there are a lot of important variables to be added from our large data set: - Wealth indexes are yet to be added
  21. 21. The good news! Forests and dietary diversity  Estimate Std. Error z value Pr(>|z|)  Zone 1 1.675186 0.067159 24.944 <2e-16 ***  Zone 2 -0.008141 0.071356 -0.114 0.9092  Zone 3 0.001412 0.071454 0.020 0.9842  Number of forest products for domestic use 0.008509 0.008332 1.021 0.3071  Weekly forest use 0.046958 0.026953 1.742 0.0815 .  Rarely use the forest -0.029872 0.036718 -0.814 0.4159  No forest use -0.080194 0.039467 -2.032 0.0422 *  Household size 0.005370 0.004686 1.146 0.2518  Total number of dependents -0.002881 0.007424 -0.388 0.6980 • There is no significant difference between zones in terms of dietary diversity • People who do not use the forest or do not have assess to forest have lower household dietary diversity • ~8% reduction in dietary diversity • Based on coarse data which is in the process of being refined • Adds weight to the evidence on the importance of forests for rural livelihoods and the nutritional status of families in tropical landscapes- Environmental Income and Rural Livelihoods: A Global-Comparative Analysis, Angelsen (2014)
  22. 22. Conclusions  Forests play an important role in the FSN of rural people throughout the tropics  Loss of forest has direct impact on rural coping strategies  Diets inevitably transition with access to income and markets, understanding the drivers is a major goal of this project  Contribution of forest products has been dramatically underestimated for diets and nutrition  We have a large data set with over 600 variables • Further teasing out of the more complicated contributing factors influencing not just FSN but wider landscape transitions
  23. 23. www.landscapes.org www.cifor.org

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