Neoliberal reform and land systems

Authors: Rinku Roy Chowdhury*, Clark University
Topics: Land Use and Land Cover Change, Coupled Human and Natural Systems, Cultural and Political Ecology
Keywords: land system science, neoliberal reform, land use, governance
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Over the past three decades, research in land systems science has focused on the complex and jagged intersections of rapid, widespread, and often profoundly uneven processes of social and environmental transformation of landscapes. During that time frame, one of the most pervasive forces shaping land use and cover globally has been the rise of neoliberal economic logics and attendant political-economic regime shifts. These transformations encompass changes to land tenure and property rights regimes, including privatization and land enclosures, and new forms of environmental governance. Their impacts have been far-reaching, telecoupled, multiscalar, and cross-sectoral. They have reshaped decision logics across a wide variety of land managers, with attendant social and ecological consequences across communities, livelihoods and landscapes. In turn, these changes have been met with socially and geographically contingent forces of facilitation, adaptation, as well as resistance. This paper reviews key insights into the processes and impacts of neoliberal reform policies emerging from land system science, and highlights implications for future trajectories of land governance, use, cover and change.

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