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4

Findings and Observations of the Tri-Academy Project

Using insights gained from the case studies and the cross-study comparisons, this chapter responds directly to the three research questions posed in Chapter 1 and describes the project's findings, acknowledging, however, that the complex interactions of population and land use involve a variety of social and economic processes. Many studies, including two publications of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Population and Land Use in Developing Countries (1993) and Population Growth and Economic Development: Policy Questions (1986), describe this complexity. The findings presented here are an attempt to identify factors common to the study regions in the three countries. The case studies provide many examples of specific interactions among population, technology, consumption, and changes in land use. Some of these examples are used here in the responses to the three research questions posed earlier; fuller analyses are found in the chapters devoted to specific study regions.

RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  • 1. What is the nature of the significant population and land use transformations in the study regions?

In each of the study regions, population rose during the period 1950–1990. Most of the increases could be attributed to births minus deaths, but in the Pearl River Delta and South Florida, the rate of migration (or immigration) was higher than the natural increase. Every region also experi-



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Page 61 4 Findings and Observations of the Tri-Academy Project Using insights gained from the case studies and the cross-study comparisons, this chapter responds directly to the three research questions posed in Chapter 1 and describes the project's findings, acknowledging, however, that the complex interactions of population and land use involve a variety of social and economic processes. Many studies, including two publications of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, Population and Land Use in Developing Countries (1993) and Population Growth and Economic Development: Policy Questions (1986), describe this complexity. The findings presented here are an attempt to identify factors common to the study regions in the three countries. The case studies provide many examples of specific interactions among population, technology, consumption, and changes in land use. Some of these examples are used here in the responses to the three research questions posed earlier; fuller analyses are found in the chapters devoted to specific study regions. RESEARCH QUESTIONS 1. What is the nature of the significant population and land use transformations in the study regions? In each of the study regions, population rose during the period 1950–1990. Most of the increases could be attributed to births minus deaths, but in the Pearl River Delta and South Florida, the rate of migration (or immigration) was higher than the natural increase. Every region also experi-

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Page 62enced an identifiable change in land use patterns, some proportionate to the population increase and some not. In some regions such as the Pearl River Delta and South Florida, the change was reflected in the more basic indices such as hectares of agricultural land converted to built-up land or decline in grassland and wetland. In other regions, such as Haryana and Kerala, a closer look at the movements of people within the region and shifts in crops grown is required. When population changes and land use changes are taken together, it may be said that every site underwent a transformation during the study period. Kerala, a poor region with a highly developed social system, is among the leaders in India in health, education, and social indicators (see Chapter 5). Many of the men and women educated in the system emigrate to the Persian Gulf countries and elsewhere, but their remittances (salary sent back to the home country, usually to family) fuel economic development in Kerala. A recent transformation was triggered by the expulsion of many expatriates from the Gulf region in the early 1990s. At the time, the changes in the Indian government's real estate and commodity pricing policies encouraged internal migration to the highland areas and a switch from grain to cash crops. The transformation in Haryana coincided with the introduction of Green Revolution technologies that increased agricultural productivity and attracted large numbers of migrants from other parts of India (see Chapter 6). The sectoral change in land use was small, but farmers moved toward income-producing cash crops and away from the local production and consumption of traditional staple crops. The government amplified this trend by favoring the semiarid Green Revolution areas with infrastructure projects at the expense of the arid zones. Before the 1950s, China's Jitai Basin in Jiangxi Province was a relatively rural area known for its agriculture and handcraft; transport was largely provided by its the river system (see Chapter 8). In the late 1950s, however, the region became the laboratory for a succession of central government economic policies that nearly destroyed the economy and severely damaged the environment. Reform in 1978 led to economic development and provided an outlet for out-migration to the Pearl River Delta that ultimately brought remittances back to the Jitai Basin. Today, the environment is being restored and new investments from returning migrants are stimulating the local economy. The Pearl River Delta, the historic frontier of China, had few industries and a low growth rate until 1978, when it was declared a special economic zone (see Chapter 9). To stimulate economic growth, the government allowed foreign investment and the conversion of collective farms to industrial uses, with individual farmers permitted to retain some of the proceeds. Housing was built in anticipation of the influx of laborers from other regions, and rules regulating migration were suspended. Rapid

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Page 63urbanization followed. In the Pearl River Delta, land use change, instigated by central government policies, preceded and helped to foster a rapid increase in population. Modern South Florida is the product of substantial migration from the northern U.S. states and a flood of immigrants from Central and South America and the Caribbean Basin (see Chapter 10). Presently, agricultural development in the region is limited by the uniquely strict environmental laws that prohibit settlement in the interior Everglades ecosystem that covers nearly half the region. As a result of these conditions, the transformation in South Florida was sensitive to government land use policies. A key element of this transformation was the shift in agriculture from producing for local demand to accommodating national and international markets. A small city of 5,000 in 1840, Chicago grew at a rate of over 10 percent a year until 1900 (see Chapter 11). In its first transformation, Chicago changed from a small city that served as the center of agroindustry for an immense area of the Midwest to, by 1900, the world's greatest rail center and the country's second largest city. In its second transformation, the city became less tied to the surrounding agricultural lands, and by the 1980s and 1990s it had become a service industry center. This transformation was accompanied by the large-scale movement of population from the city to suburban areas. Urbanization was a facet of change in all of the study regions. In Kerala, the number of towns doubled from 1951 to 1991, and in the Pearl River Delta, not only did the population of towns and cities increase, but the built-up area of Shenzhen City, in particular, increased sixfold from 1982 to 1990. The rate of expansion of the urbanized area of Chicago grew by nearly a factor of three between 1955 and 1972. These transformations and land use changes had, in turn, broad social and environmental impacts in the study regions. The effects of these changes on certain social groups—upland and lowland groups, landless people, women, and the rural poor—differed. For example, in Chapter 7 of this volume, Sumati Kulkarni documents for Kerala and Haryana the greater economic marginalization of women that has gone hand in hand with land use transformations. In Kerala, because labor-intensive rice cultivation has declined, women have found their position in the rural labor market weakened. In Haryana, the scene of a tremendous increase in productivity and where rice has emerged as a cash crop, women do have a greater role in productive work. Yet as the mechanized and livestockrelated jobs held by men have gained in prestige and income in Haryana, the position of women continues to deteriorate. Women's work remains less recognized in Haryana, and differentials between men and women in wages—and even life expectancy—persist. As for the environmental impacts of transformations and land use change, soil salinity and erosion, a decline in water quality, and loss of

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Page 64 biodiversity were documented in the Tri-Academy case studies. For example, from 1966 to 1983 in Haryana the area under irrigation almost doubled, resulting in rising water tables and waterlogging in the canal-irrigated and low-lying areas in the east-central part of the state. In southwestern Haryana, which is suffering from saline and saline-sodic groundwater, falling water tables and salinization are direct threats to the future of agriculture. In Kerala, soil erosion has accompanied the shift to export crops. But Kerala enforces national environmental regulations and has enacted land use regulations aimed at protecting wetland and prohibiting the direct conversion of paddy fields to settlements. An interesting illustration of the range of forces driving the impact of population change on land use is evident in the intensification of agriculture in the Pearl River Delta (Turner et al., 1994). Prior to 1981, growing industrial emissions of sulfur dioxide and nitrogen oxide had led to acidification of soils and reduction of soil quality in the area. But with the development of orchards and market gardens and their associated technologies, farmers began to return organic matter to the soil even as control of emissions began to take effect. Other examples of the effects of land use change on the environment are found throughout this report. The deforestation generated in the Jitai Basin by the Great Leap Forward and its emphasis on steel production fueled by forest products was accompanied by increased soil erosion and a decline in overall land quality. In the Pearl River Delta, increased industrial and urban expansion has led to dramatic changes in water and air quality. And in the coastal region of South Florida, loss of biodiversity and hydrological function accompanied the massive draining of the Everglades to expand agricultural and residential lands and to protect them from flooding. Yet another example illustrates the complex relationship between population growth and the environment. The city of Zhuhai, located in one of the special economic zones designated by the Chinese government in the Pearl River Delta, has benefited from its status and special policies for stimulating economic growth since August 1980. During 1990–1995, its average gross domestic product (GDP)—the value of industrial and agricultural products, net government revenue, and savings per capita—in Zhuhai municipality was significantly higher than those of the other five municipalities in the Delta area not included in the special zone. Zhuhai also has become a local model for controlled development in the environmental pollution arena. By all available measures, environmental pollution in the Zhuhai municipality appears to be significantly less than in the other five municipalities. This result apparently stems from actions taken by the municipal government of Zhuhai, led by an active mayor, which has strongly emphasized the importance of environmental protection, made a substantial investment in processing wastewater and resi

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Page 65due, and required all new projects to conform to a high standard of environmental protection. Moreover, the population growth of Zhuhai is dominated by migration, and the annual rate of increase of total population between 1990 and 1995 was 7.9 percent, compared with 4.9 percent for the other five municipalities in the region. This is not the negative correlation between population growth and environmental quality that one might expect. 2. To what extent have local population growth and consumption directly influenced the changes in land use? The population of all the study regions is increasing (see Figure 3-1 in Chapter 3 for population trends for 1950–1990), but the population growth in South Florida is the most dramatic, sixfold in 40 years. Haryana and the Pearl River Delta are the next fastest-growing regions, with population almost tripling over the period 1950–1990. Elsewhere, Kerala and the Jitai Basin both showed steady growth—more than doubling over the same period. Only Chicago grew relatively slowly, just over 40 percent during the 40-year period. From 1980 to 1990, the Pearl River Delta was the fastest-growing study region, at a rate of almost 50 percent for the decade. What are the dynamic relationships between population and land use in the six study regions (see Figure 3-3, Figure 3-5, and Figure 3-6 in Chapter 3)? In Kerala, the more basic measures of land use change are nearly insensitive to the fast-rising population. Likewise, in Haryana the percentage of agricultural land has remained stable in the face of the increasing population, indicating large increases in population density in relation to arable land. In the Jitai Basin, as population slowly increased, forestland fell initially, then rose in response to environmental policy changes at the expense of barren wasteland and grassland. The Pearl River Delta saw its proportion of built-up land grow faster than population during the early 1980s; forests also increased while grassland, barren land, and water declined. Population increases in South Florida are associated with significant declines in natural areas—grassland, wetland, and forest—and with increases in built-up areas, especially since the 1950s. This process is now being reversed by plans for government restoration and extended protection of the Everglades natural area. In Chicago, the population was stable in the 1970s and 1980s, but agricultural land declined and forest and grassland increased in response to parkland and reforestation policies. Figure 3-3, Figure 3-5, and Figure 3-6 in Chapter 3 suggest that population density correlates poorly with specific land use changes in the study regions. As noted in Chapter 1, all the regions have high population densities. Complicating the analysis is the question of whether population growth or land use change is the independent variable—or indeed whether the relationship is dominated by other factors. In other words, a rapidly growing

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Page 66population can be associated with economically motivated land use change, as in the Pearl River Delta, or with slow and higher-order change, such as choice of crops planted rather than gross area cultivated, as in Haryana. In the complex South Florida case, countervailing policies such as drainage and flood control together with the establishment of national parks, water conservation areas, and strict zoning have confined most population growth to within a few miles of the coasts. In the Pearl River Delta, land use or technological change generally preceded and attracted in-migration. Land use change at other sites appears to be more in response to other economic forces or government actions than to population growth. Shifts in people's consumption patterns stemming from affluence and technology may be associated with increased demands on the land. For example, consumption changes as people move from rural to urban settings and—in Haryana—as local farmers shift from grains to cash crops. Only in the Jitai Basin were changes in crop or livestock production—but not gross agricultural area—related to changes in consumption. None of the study regions produces agricultural products exclusively for the local population; each produces its share of cash crops. Therefore, to the extent that land use responds to consumption, this demand originates in large part outside the study area. Every study region also has been touched by technological change, but in very different ways. Perhaps the classic example of the influence of technology on land use change is found in Haryana, a Green Revolution site. The state has undergone dramatic changes in land use as a result of the introduction of new, high-yielding wheat and rice varieties and the accompanying development of infrastructure for irrigation and for providing chemical inputs. Such advances have dramatically modified the agricultural system away from its reliance on millets and pulses. Although the Green Revolution has had a positive impact on the economy of Haryana and given the state a crucial role in the food security of the nation, Green Revolution technology has had a negative effect on the environment by bringing about profound changes in Haryana's land and water quality through a complex set of interacting biophysical and socio-economic factors. Another aspect of technological change is the technology-based industrial development that has played a major role in transforming the Pearl River Delta, once one of the “rice bowls” of China, into an urbanized landscape. This transformation has been amazingly rapid. In the span of 15 years, the modest town of Shenzhen became a big city with over 600 high-rise buildings. A major highway now links Shenzhen and Guangzhou, and furniture and other factories line the highway for miles. Per capita energy consumption in the Delta's Guangdong Province almost doubled between 1985 and 1996, whereas energy use per capita in neigh-

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Page 67boring Jiangxi Province was much lower and growing much more slowly. The Pearl River Delta experience can be likened to that of Chicago, where railroads were among the initial transforming elements. In the Delta, however, the land use transformation was much more rapid. A different role was played by technology in South Florida. In the late 1940s, after a series of disastrous floods, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers applied then-current environmental technologies to control flooding in the Everglades. This intervention laid the groundwork for the settlement pattern that has been sustained until the present, restricting the densely populated areas to the two coasts and leaving the central region almost uninhabited. Today, many of the antiflooding measures are being reversed to protect and restore the Everglades itself. The case studies indicate that technologies influence land use in no simple way and that the impact of technology is not directly related to affluence. The most environmentally benign uses of technology are found in the poorest study region (reforestation in the Jitai Basin) and in one of the richest (restoration of the Everglades in South Florida), while the most destructive were the Great Leap Forward in the Jitai Basin and some effects of the Green Revolution in Haryana. The results seem to indicate that technology has a variety of influences on population and consumption patterns and their association with changes in land use. The direction of the relationship is unclear, however, and demands yet another tier of explanation. 3. From a comparison of the case studies, what can be learned about the general nature of the forces driving the transformations and about the influence of government policies on population growth and mobility, land use, and economic development? The case studies reveal two fundamental forces that influence both population shifts and land use transformation: government policy and globalization and migration. Government Policy A hypothesis that arises in all case studies is that land use change is more consistently tied to government policies, directly or indirectly, than to other, more “natural” forces such as population growth or rising affluence and consumption. Policies that have affected land use include environmental policies, population policies, foreign investment regulations, economic price controls on agricultural inputs and outputs, resettlement incentives, taxation, privatization, and reforestation programs. The Pearl River Delta was transformed more by the Chinese government's decision to open up that area to foreign investment than by any

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Page 68intrinsic pressure of population or consumption. The landscape of South Florida was largely determined by the U.S. government's environmental policy, which directly constrained the forces of population pressure; by immigration policies, particularly those for Cuban immigrants; and by state income tax laws, which encouraged population growth. Kerala's unique combination of social, education, land reform, and commodity pricing policies transformed both its agriculture and its rate of population growth. A variety of agricultural policies, including investments in research at the national and international levels, pricing policies, subsidies for infrastructure development, and centers for the distribution of new cultivars, all contributed to increases in agricultural productivity in Haryana. By contrast, government policy was less influential in the Chicago region; private capital financed the physical and commercial development of Chicago well into the twentieth century. After World War II, however, government did play a role in the growth of the metropolitan area, directly through the federal highway system and indirectly through government housing and financing policies, including tax deductions for mortgage loan interest and real estate taxes. Perhaps the starkest example of the role policy has played on land use is the decadal transformation of the Jitai Basin. The central government of China promulgated land reform policies between 1950 and 1957 that stimulated farmers to place more land under cultivation. The adoption in 1958 of the Great Leap Forward, a policy to encourage steel production, spurred the cutting down of large areas of forest for fuel. The years 1966–1976 saw the effects of land reform policy that emphasized the need to “put grain production first.” The result was a vast expansion of rice paddy fields. Then in 1982, the “household responsibility system” of forestland ownership transferred day-to-day control of land in the Jitai Basin from public to private hands. This policy resulted in further losses of forest-land. Finally, over the last two decades policies to encourage reforestation succeeded in increasing forest area in the region. Globalization and Migration No study region has been unaffected by globalization and increasing economic integration. Globalization, defined as the influence of markets—labor markets, commodity markets, manufactured goods markets—remote to the region, has had a major effect on the movement of people and use of land in each study region. Thus the demand that stimulated the conversion of farmland in the Pearl River Delta to built-up land, particularly for industrial uses—factories and workers' houses—did not originate largely within the Pearl River Delta itself but in other parts of the country and the world. The demand from the West for electronic and textile products was more influential than local demand for food and

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Page 69housing. In Haryana, the national need for grain production promoted the adoption of Green Revolution agricultural technologies. This transformation resulted in dramatic increases in agricultural exports from the state and attracted laborers from other parts of India with their own demand for food, even as subsistence crop production declined significantly. Likewise in Kerala, rice land was converted to rubber and coconuts despite the rising rice-consuming population. Land use in large stretches of South Florida was influenced by the Cuban revolution; the U.S. government boycott of Cuban sugar resulted in the dramatic increase in sugar production in the region. The other face of globalization is the movement of people. A closer look at the in- and out-migration patterns of the study regions reveals that many have counterpart regions that serve as a destination and source of migrants. For example, many workers from the less-developed Jitai Basin migrate to the special economic zone of the Pearl River Delta. Kerala provides workers to regions both within and outside India, and the pace of migration has accelerated as the educated unemployed leave in search of employment opportunities. Over half the emigration from Kerala is to foreign countries, with the Middle East accounting for over half of all destinations. In earlier years Chicago was the destination of many immigrants from Central Europe, along with heavy migration from the east and rural Midwest of the United States. South Florida is today a strong magnet for immigrants from South and Central America and the Caribbean, as well as the elderly from the northern states. On a national scale, all three countries are strongly affected by globalization. The U.S. economy runs a large negative trade balance with the rest of the world, importing vast quantities of raw materials and manufactured goods. It is also the world's leading destination for international immigration, receiving over a million people a year. Although international immigration is not as important for China, that country has made vast strides in recent years in opening its economy to the rest of the world. It has become one of the world's major exporters of manufactured goods and a major recipient of overseas capital flows. Global economic factors have affected India as well; its industries have become more open to the world market after decades of strong protection. Although immigration flows to India have only a small effect on population trends, capital flows and remittances from Indians abroad play an increasingly important role in the economy. FINDINGS The case studies in this investigation do not support the view that land use change and environmental degradation are determined by the size of the local population. In today's world there are virtually no closed

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Page 70systems. Demands by large populations can have an effect on the environment at great distances, and flows of population and goods across boundaries can permit higher local densities to be supported. Despite rising population levels, environmental restoration activities are under way in all six regions. In summary, three general findings emerged from the six study regions. 1. The Intertwined Effects of Population, Consumption, and Technology. As noted, the population of each study region is increasing. Migration, as opposed to natural population growth, is the dominant source of these increases in the Pearl River Delta and South Florida, two of the three fastest-growing regions. The effect of local consumption on land use patterns often is less important than that of external consumption. In all regions, the area devoted to subsistence crops has decreased over time and the area sown in market crops has increased. In some regions, local consumption has changed in response—for example, meat, milk, and fish consumption has risen in the Jitai Basin and grain consumption has fallen in Haryana. In the study regions, the impact of technology on the environment was found to be positive or negative, depending on the time and the situation. In Haryana and the Jitai Basin, technological change led to environmental degradation, but more recently in Florida and the Jitai Basin it permitted restoration of natural areas. Green Revolution technology has played a major role in transforming the nature of agricultural land use. 2. Stability and Change in Land Use. Contrary to common perceptions, forest areas seem to be stable or even increasing in the study regions of high population density. Grassland and wetland areas, by contrast, are declining and may be more at risk of land use transformation. From 1970 to 1995, total agricultural land in most study regions did not undergo major changes, even though the populations of the regions did grow significantly. Thus population increases are not uniformly associated with decreases in agricultural land areas. Recovery and restoration of land are possible with appropriate and effective land use policies; however, the ecological and political settings in which they occur may be complex. As for the people themselves, land use change has affected the social groups within regions differently. What most strikes the eye of the visitor to these regions is the remarkable growth in certain built-up areas in places like the Pearl River Delta. In the corridor of development between Hong Kong and Guangzhou, the conversion of farmland to residential, commercial, industrial, and transport uses is extraordinary. Yet even there, the relationship between population growth and consumption is not clear. Many of the new residences

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Page 71are empty, built in anticipation of—and as an attraction to—workers drawn to the economic zone by the land use changes. 3. The Importance of Government Policy. Of the various factors mentioned in this report, government policy generally appears to have the greatest single effect on land use change. In the study regions, the effects of government policies are amplified by the fact that no region is a closed system; people, capital, and goods flow across all boundaries. As a result, external forces sometimes have the dominant effect on land use changes. The case studies also revealed that policies often are not motivated by the pressure of population growth and that some policies result in land use changes that provoke increased migration or movement of people. Policies in the study regions that have had a major effect on land use change include: price controls on agricultural inputs and outputs, infrastructure support, taxation, privatization, and reforestation programs. Economic policies have been especially important in the Chinese regions and in Kerala; infrastructure support was important in Haryana and South Florida. BEYOND THE CASE STUDIES In an increasingly globalized world, places are linked more strongly over greater distances. Understanding the role of government action is critical to understanding how global forces reshape regions and countries. Government policies can offset or mitigate the effects of natural population growth on land use, or they can force or encourage land use changes first, which in turn causes movement of people. At best, policy becomes an important mechanism through which jurisdictions can channel global forces and define opportunities for growth. At worst, global flows of people and capital cause unintended consequences that subvert the intention of government action. Any understanding of the interaction between land use and population in any place will hinge on taking into account external and global forces. These observations suggest that any case studies of the interactions between population and land use should fully incorporate the national and international contexts of the region or regions under study, as well as their linkages with agents and institutions at other spatial scales. Conversely, the relative impact of global forces on regions, including their influence on local decisionmaking, also must be assessed. Multiple-site case studies will be critical to defining comparative baselines and understanding cross-cutting issues. The effectiveness of single-site, context-rich studies will be limited unless careful attention is paid to the cross-border flows of people, goods, pollutants, and finances. Satellite data offer great potential for complementing national-scale data, as well as field censuses and ethnographic studies, in order to document changing land cover and

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Page 72land use in multiple regions over time. Agencies that provide national and international land use data will play a key role in creating useful frameworks for data exchange and research collaborations. These findings also have important implications for local sustainability initiatives. A broader perspective will help local governments and institutions better define the true drivers of local environmental change and encourage them to design policies that could foster sustainable development. For example, the water restoration projects currently proposed for Haryana will succeed only after a reevaluation of and shift in India's national food supply policies. Similarly, any attempt to increase or limit agricultural development in South Florida must take into account the U.S. government's Cuba policy and domestic environmental politics. Recognition of the importance of these kinds of spatial linkages can be a significant step toward more effective environmental management—an idea that may have already found its voice in the injunction of many environmental activists to “think globally, act locally.” The word globalization has, of course, become something of a cliche. But the study described here of six very different regions in India, China, and the United States suggests its importance to any analysis of population and resource issues and to the evaluation of policies designed to achieve sustainability. REFERENCE Turner, B. L., II, W. B. Meyer, and D. L. Skole. 1994 . Global land use/land cover change: Towards an integrated program of study. Ambio 23(1): 91–95 .