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Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences - Biogeography

Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences | Geography Department | Biogeography | News | Warfare affects land systems at multiple scales

Warfare affects land systems at multiple scales

Shocks can affect land systems in major ways. Warfare is a globally frequent shock, sometimes causing severe land-use change. This review suggests, though, that these changes are not unidirectional and much remains to be learned as the number of existing studies is low.

The impacts of warfare and armed conflict on land systems

 

Matthias Baumann | Tobias Kuemmerle

 

Land-use decisions can change abruptly in response to shocks, and warfare and armed conflicts are among the most drastic and globally frequent shocks. Yet, our understanding of where armed conflict affects land systems, how land-use patterns are impacted, and how far-reaching and persistent these changes are, is partial. We used a spatially detailed dataset on armed conflict and a literature review to explore these questions. A number of key insights emerged from our study: (1) warfare and armed conflict affect land systems mainly in more densely populated areas, regardless of the dominating land use; (2) warfare and armed conflict can impact land systems in major ways, but these effects are diverse and not unidirectional; (3) warfare and armed conflict primarily affects land systems locally, but can forge telecouplings; and (4) although the impact of warfare and armed conflict is often immediate, it can instigate long-lasting land-use legacies.

 

Link to the manuscript: DOI:10.1080/1747423X.2016.1241317

Citation: Baumann, M. and T. Kuemmerle (2016). "The impacts of warfare and armed conflict on land systems." Journal of Land Use Science 11(6): 672-688.