The Rubber Juggernaut

Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore 117570.
Science (Impact Factor: 31.48). 06/2009; 324(5930):1024-5. DOI: 10.1126/science.1173833
Source: PubMed
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    ABSTRACT: Many ethnic Hmong in Laos have developed small-scale rubber plantations due to high international demand and prices. Drawing on social network theory we consider the role of different types of networks, and their links to transportation and communications improvements, in influencing rubber development. The four social networks identified as being particularly important to the Hmong are: lineage, blood ties, clan relations, and self-identity of being Hmong. These relations are affecting the tenure and financial arrangements being adopted by small-scale Hmong rubber cultivators, but our findings demonstrate considerable variation in the importance of Hmong social networks. There are also broader implications.
    Mobilities 03/2015; DOI:10.1080/17450101.2015.1016821 · 1.17 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: The cultivation of rubber trees in Xishuangbanna Prefecture in China’s Yunnan Province has triggered an unprecedented economic development but it is also associated with severe environmental problems. Rubber plantations are encroaching the indigenous rain forests at a large scale and a high speed in Xishuangbanna. Many rare plant and animal species are endangered by this development, the natural water management is disturbed, and even the microclimate in this region has changed over the past years. The present study aims at an assessment of the environmental benefits accruing from a reforestation project partly reversing the deforestation that has taken place over the past years. To this end, a Contingent Valuation survey has been conducted in Xishuangbanna to elicit local residents’ willingness to pay for this reforestation program that converts existing rubber plantations back into forest. It is shown that local people’s awareness of the environmental problems caused by increasing rubber plantation is quite high and that in spite of the economic advantages of rubber plantation there is a positive willingness among the local population to contribute financially to a reduction of existing rubber plantations for the sake of a partial restoration of the local rain forest. These results could be used for the practical implementation of a Payments for Eco-System Services system for reforestation in Xishuangbanna.
    Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 01/2015; 187(2). DOI:10.1007/s10661-014-4088-8 · 1.68 Impact Factor
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    ABSTRACT: A simple and effective phenology-based algorithm was developed to detect and map rubber tree plantations in Xishuangbanna, a prefecture in southwest China’s Yunnan province. This algorithm highlighted the unique phenological characteristics of deciduous rubber tree plantations during the dry season. Phenology of rubber tree plantations and natural evergreen forests was delineated with Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI), Land Surface Water Index (LSWI) and Normalized Burn Ratio (NBR) derived from Landsat Thematic Mapper (TM), Enhanced Thematic Mapper plus (ETM+) and Operational Land Imager imagery during 2009-2014. The results showed that the differences of NBR were larger than those of NDVI and LSWI from defoliation stage to foliation stage. Then, the change rate of NBR derived between defoliation stage and foliation stage was used to map rubber tree plantations in 2014, by combining a Landsat-based forest mask and a Digital Elevation Model mask. Our study demonstrates that Landsat imagery holds great potential for rubber tree plantations mapping, as it not only improves the classification results but also reduces the data demand.
    Remote Sensing Letters 01/2015; 6(1):49-58. DOI:10.1080/2150704X.2014.996678 · 1.43 Impact Factor