Laura Vang Rasmussen

Laura Vang Rasmussen
University of British Columbia - Vancouver | UBC · Faculty of Forestry

About

65
Publications
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1,678
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Publications

Publications (65)
Article
Full-text available
Significance Two billion people across the planet suffer from nutrient deficiencies. Dietary diversification is key to solving this problem, yet many food and nutrition security policies, especially in low- and middle-income countries, still focus on increasing agricultural production and access to sufficient calories as the main solution. But calo...
Article
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In most low‐ and middle‐income countries (LMICs), conventional agricultural policy promotes specialized production systems of carbohydrate‐rich crops to address hunger and food insecurity. For rural populations, however, increased landscape uniformity can reduce both agrobiodiversity and wild biodiversity, which can contribute to diet uniformity. A...
Article
Forest and tree-based landscapes represent complex social-ecological systems. In tropical and subtropical regions, these landscapes are home to hundreds of millions of resource-poor people. Gaining a better understanding of how contextual factors influence forest-poverty dynamics is essential for the design, targeting and implementation of effectiv...
Article
A global shift toward plant-based dietary patterns clearly offers many benefits for both human health and sustainability. However, a “one-size fits all” approach to achieving such a shift is unlikely to be successful given the very different nutritional and livelihood challenges facing different world regions.
Article
Investments in the restoration of ecological infrastructure are often promoted as a strategy to achieve win-win outcomes for people and the environment, and often involve the creation of temporary employment. Nevertheless, few studies have attempted to quantify the socio-economic benefits among workers employed across multiple ecological infrastruc...
Article
Voluntary land registries can affect land use by facilitating both the public's ability to monitor land use and farmers' access to credit. We estimate the impacts of participation in a land registry on the conversion of natural vegetation to agricultural land use by examining the impacts of the rural environmental registry (CAR) in Brazil, using a...
Article
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Global food system analyses call for an urgent transition to sustainable human diets but how this might be achieved within the current global food regime is poorly explored. Here we examine the factors that have fostered major dietary shifts across eight countries in the past 70 years. Guided by transition and food-regime theories, we draw on data...
Article
Ecological infrastructure refers to naturally functioning ecosystems that deliver valuable services to people, such as filtered water and disaster risk reduction. With natural resources becoming scarcer, there is a growing interest in reinvesting in naturally functioning ecosystems in the form of ecological infrastructure, with the assumption that...
Article
Forests have re-taken centre stage in global conversations about sustainability, climate and biodiversity. Here, we use a horizon scanning approach to identify five large-scale trends that are likely to have substantial medium- and long-term effects on forests and forest livelihoods: forest megadisturbances; changing rural demographics; the rise of...
Article
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A large proportion of dryland trees and shrubs (hereafter referred to collectively as trees) grow in isolation, without canopy closure. These non-forest trees have a crucial role in biodiversity, and provide ecosystem services such as carbon storage, food resources and shelter for humans and animals1,2. However, most public interest relating to tre...
Chapter
Forests and tree-based systems represent complex social-ecological systems. Gaining a better understanding of how contextual factors influence forest-poverty dynamics is essential for the design, targeting and implementation of policy instruments and interventions to alleviate poverty. In this chapter we explore key social, economic, political and...
Article
Full-text available
Malnutrition linked to poor quality diets affects at least 2 billion people. Forests, as well as agricultural systems linked to trees, are key sources of dietary diversity in rural settings. In the present article, we develop conceptual links between diet diversity and forested landscape mosaics within the rural tropics. First, we summarize the sta...
Article
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Dietary diversification is central to improving dietary quality and nutrition for food security. Several factors have been linked to higher diversity diets, including household wealth, market access, on-farm crop diversity, and regional forest cover. How these factors combine in landscapes to shape diets, however, is not well-understood. We take th...
Article
Remote sensing-derived cropland products have depicted the location and extent of agricultural lands with an ever increasing accuracy. However, limited attention has been devoted to distinguishing between actively cropped fields and fallowed fields within agricultural lands, and in particular so in grass fallow systems of semi-arid areas. In the Sa...
Article
Scholarship on climate information use has focused significantly on engagement with practitioners as a means to enhance knowledge use. In principle, working with practitioners to incorporate their knowledge and priorities into the research process should improve information uptake by enhancing accessibility and improving users’ perceptions of how w...
Research
Full-text available
Sustainable agricultural intensification appears in the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a key strategy for ending hunger (SDG2) and achieving sustainable use of terrestrial ecosystems (SDG15). Yet, it is not clear whether such twin benefits - for both human wellbeing and ecosystems - are actually achieved, especially in low a...
Article
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In the version of this Review originally published, the top heading in the first column of Fig. 2 was mistakenly written ‘Food poisoning’; it should have read ‘Food provisioning’. This has now been corrected.
Article
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Land-use intensification in agrarian landscapes is seen as a key strategy to simultaneously feed humanity and use ecosystems sustainably, but the conditions that support positive social-ecological outcomes remain poorly documented. We address this knowledge gap by synthesizing research that analyses how agricultural intensification affects both eco...
Article
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The African continent is facing one of the driest periods in the past three decades as well as continued deforestation. These disturbances threaten vegetation carbon (C) stocks and highlight the need for improved capabilities of monitoring large-scale aboveground carbon stock dynamics. Here we use a satellite dataset based on vegetation optical dep...
Article
There is a lack of generalizable empirical analyses of whether particular types of monitoring promote effective forest governance, and under what circumstances. We reviewed a specific sample of the peer-reviewed literature on how monitoring, including state-level, participatory, and third-party monitoring, might affect forest conditions. Examining...
Article
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Brazil's Rural Environmental Registry (CAR) is a potentially promising avenue to slow deforestation on private properties as it facilitates the monitoring of land use. Yet limited empirical evidence exists on how the CAR affects smallholders' behavior and recent scholarly efforts have in fact indicated that it may be doing less to protect forests t...
Article
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In this article, we shine a spotlight on approaches to research ecosystem service trade-offs and critically assess their representation of relevant social dynamics. Although studies linking ecosystem services and human well-being have provided theoretical insights into social and ecological trade-offs, we argue that ecosystem services research has...
Article
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In Brazil, the Cadastro Ambiental Rural (CAR) is currently being implemented. This policy aims to geo-reference all properties and promote monitoring of, and compliance with, natural vegetation conservation requirements. Scholarly efforts and policy attention have so far concentrated on possible environmental impacts hereof, while the attention dev...
Article
Climate-related adaptation practices are often conscious policy decisions initiated from outside a community by governments, development agencies, or other actors. Whereas expectations that such adaptation strategies would positively interact with local priorities to support action, adaptive actions at one scale might also constrain actions at othe...
Article
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While there has been considerable focus on understanding barriers to climate information use associated with the character of climate knowledge, individuals’ negative perception of its usability and constraints of decision-contexts, less attention has been paid to understanding how different scales of decision-making influence information use. In t...
Article
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Agricultural systems, with their links to human wellbeing, have been at the heart of sustainability debates for decades. But there is only limited agreement among scientists and stakeholders about the indicators needed to measure the sustainability of agricultural commodity production. We analyze the metrics and indicators of sustainability used in...
Article
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This study examines the application of mixed-method and participatory approaches to conservation and development research. Both approaches were applied in a research project on the relationship between ecosystem governance and the wellbeing of local communities adjacent to a protected area in Laos. By encouraging four of the involved field research...
Article
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Wild food constitutes a substantial part of household food consumption around the world, but rapid land use changes influence the availability of wild foods, which has implications for smallholders' food and nutrient intake. With increasing commercial agriculture and biodiversity conservation efforts in forested tropical regions, many shifting cult...
Article
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Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel mainly arise from competition over land and water resources or because of livestock damage to crops. Rather than being linked to larger environmental change processes such as climate change, conflicts are often caused by inappropriate zoning of land, governance and unequal power relations betw...
Article
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The Rural Sustentável project aims to decrease greenhouse gas emissions, reduce poverty, and promote sustainable rural development in the Brazilian Amazon and Atlantic Forest biomes: by restoring deforested and degraded land, and by facilitating and promoting the uptake of low carbon agricultural technologies. The project offers farmers a) access t...
Article
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Ecosystem research focuses on goods and services, thereby ascribing beneficial values to the ecosystems. Depending on the context, however, outputs from ecosystems can be both positive and negative. We examined how provisioning services of wild animals and plants can switch between being services and disservices. We studied agricultural communities...
Article
Full-text available
Conflicts between pastoralists and farmers in the Sahel arise from competition over land and water resources or because of livestock damages to crops. Rather than being linked to larger environmental change processes such as climate change, they are often causes by inappropriate zoning of land, governance and unequal power relations between stakeho...
Technical Report
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This policy brief is based on collaborative research conducted during 2013-2016 under the project ‘Ecosystem Services, Wellbeing and Justice: Developing Tools for Research and Practice’, led by Prof Thomas Sikor and funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation program (ESPA). The project aims to a) contribute social understanding in a t...
Technical Report
Full-text available
This policy brief is based on collaborative research conducted during 2013-2016 under the project ‘Ecosystem Services, Wellbeing and Justice: Developing Tools for Research and Practice’, led by Prof Thomas Sikor and funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation program (ESPA). The project aims to a) contribute social understanding in a t...
Article
Full-text available
Failure to recognize that potential provisioning ecosystem services are not necessarily collected and used by people may have important consequences for management of land and resources. Accounting for people's actual use of ecosystem services in decision making processes requires a robust methodological approach that goes beyond mapping the presen...
Article
In West Africa, the channels for information flow from meteorological services to end-users, such as pastoralists, are relatively limited. As meteorological information is key to improving productivity for pastoralists, it represents a challenge at both local and national level to develop an efficient information dissemination system. However, few...
Article
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The demand for biofuels has been rising, which has led developing countries to focus on production of feedstocks for biodiesel and bioethanol production. This has caused concerns for the impacts on food security, food prices and environmental sustainability. This paper examines a hypothetical case of cassava-based bioethanol production in southern...
Article
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The Sahel has been the object of intensive international research since the drought of the early 1970s. A considerable part of the research has focused on environmental change in general and land degradation, land cover change and climate change in particular. Rich and diverse insights from many different scientific disciplines about these three do...
Article
A default assumption about the Sahel is that farmers consider food provision for the family as the sole reason for cultivation. The degree to which this ‘cultivation for food’ assumption has been embedded in the scientific literature on land use changes is signified by the fact that hardly any studies have questioned it. This article suggests that...
Article
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There has been an increasing focus on providing better weather, climate, and resource information for decision making in drylands. This study explores what kind of information pastoralists in the Sahel received in 2013 and how they responded to this information. Moreover, the study assesses whether the disseminated information corresponds to the ac...
Article
Cassava based bioethanol production is a promising alternative to conventional fossil fuels and commercial production is already well established in several countries. A production based on small holder production may involve a transformation of the existing production system and it is therefore imperative to investigate opportunities and barriers...
Article
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Many studies have shown a 'greening of the Sahel' on the basis of analysis of time series of satellite images and this has shown to be, at least partly, explained by changes in rainfall. In northern Burkina Faso, an area stands out as anomalous in such analysis, since it is characterized by a distinct spatial pattern and strongly dominated by negat...
Article
The Sahel has been subject of considerable environmental research and development efforts, specifically since the droughts of the 1970s and 1980s. This article uses a meta-study approach to summarize knowledge of crop land change, the documented driving forces, and the perceived impacts. The analysis of case studies shows that crop land has increas...
Article
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Scholars have studied the Sahel intensely since major droughts hit the region in the early 1970s. One of the most persistent of these in terms of both volume and time span is Anette Reenberg. In this paper we explore her studies of the Sahel published in peer-reviewed journals and their impact over the last three decades. Reenberg has had a remarka...
Article
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The paper addresses the challenge of conceptualizing and analyzing complex change processes and causal explanations in human-environment systems. To illustrate this challenge empirically, the paper takes its point of departure in the apparent paradox that the agricultural practices in the desert fringe zone of the Sahel seem to remain remarkably un...
Article
The need to mitigate climate change makes production of liquid biofuels a high priority. Substituting fossil fuels by biodiesel produced from Jatropha curcas has gained widespread attention as Jatropha cultivation is claimed to offer green house gas emission reductions. Farmers respond worldwide to this increasing demand by converting forests into...
Technical Report
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The supply of affordable, reliable and environmentally friendly energy services is an important precondition for the economic development of Malian society. Currently demand for electricity is increasing by about 10% per annum, and demand for fuel for transport is increasing at an even higher level (BAD 2010). This presents enormous challenges to t...
Article
Population growth has often been suggested to explain field expansion in Sahelian land use systems. Yet recent research increasingly acknowledges that villagers do not necessarily enlarge their fields as a response to increased food requirements. This paper suggests that drivers such as population growth should be connected to land cover changes by...
Article
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We discuss the adaptive cycle heuristic as a potential platform for describing the functioning and directions of change in Sahelian land use systems. Specifically, the aim is to go beyond the simplified narrative of a vicious circle of land degradation and land expansion prompted by population pressure and low rainfall and to develop conceptual mea...
Article
Throughout the Sahelian region of Africa, vegetation growth displays substantial inter-annual variation, causing widespread concern in the region as rain-fed agriculture and pastoralism are a means of sustenance for the predominantly rural population. Previously proposed factors behind variations include changes in total yearly rainfall, land-use c...
Article
Full-text available
A novel technique for the detection of flooded land using satellite data is presented. This new method takes advantage of the high temporal resolution of the Spinning Enhanced Visible and InfraRed Imager (SEVIRI) aboard the Meteosat Second Generation (MSG) series of satellites to derive several parameters that describe the sensitivity of land surfa...

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Projects

Projects (4)
Archived project
Project
Environmental justice research is emerging as a means to explore trade-offs in ecosystem management. Studies of environmental justice look beyond tangible costs and benefits to comprise three interrelated dimensions: distribution of direct and indirect benefits from natural resources, procedure relating to decisions which govern them and recognition of culture, knowledge and needs of different groups in those processes. The project team conducted empirical, multidisciplinary research into ecosystem services, wellbeing and environmental justice in villages bordering Nam Et-Phou Louey National Protected Area in northern Laos in 2014 and 2015.