Patterns and Drivers of Land Use Change in Battambang Province, Cambodia

Principal Investigator
Hor Sanara, Royal University of Agriculture
Geographic area of interest
Cambodian economics experienced a major change since the new millennium when agricultural land uses expanded rapidly causing major deforestation across the country. In 2014, the country’s GDP was 16.78 Billion (US dollar), with a 28.6 % contribution from agricultural sector. Forest areas have declined from 73.04% of total land of Cambodia in 1965, to 58.60% in 1996. Between 1996 and 2002, marginal increase of forest areas were reported, but started decreasing at an alarming rate between 2002 and 2014. Currently forest covers around 49% of total land of Cambodia. At the same time, area under agricultural has experienced increasing trends over the years: from 14.05% in 2006 to 16.01% in 2010 and to 18.19% in 2015. Agricultural expansions and transitions in the farming system have significant impact on the forest cover. The pattern, causes and consequents of land use and land cover change have not been documented throughout the country. In Cambodian northeastern province, the trade liberalization policy, which is forcing the local people to access agricultural market and create land alienation, results change in land use scheme. In a central area like Kampong Chhnang Province, the agricultural expansion is caused by the development of irrigation system. Given the different dynamics of land use changes across Cambodia, there is an urgent need to characterize these processes for developing land use management policies and improve our understanding of the changes in the environmental and socio-economic conditions.
Project goals
  • Characterize the changes in land use pattern over the last two decades and identify the major drivers at regional scales across the province
  • Assess the environmental and socio-economic impacts of agricultural expansion
  • Monitor the changes in crop diversity and dry season agriculture using high resolution imagery and household surveys
  • Understand the effect of small holder crop production on domestic food security and livelihood
Key Achievements (last update: Nov 2016)
Expected to start in January 2017