Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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    Agrarische handel van België met ontwikkelingslanden; Toets op duurzaamheid
    Meijerink, G.W. ; Roza, P. ; Berkum, S. van - \ 2008
    Den Haag : LEI Wageningen UR (Rapport / LEI : Werkveld 1, Internationaal beleid ) - 137
    agrarische economie - agrarische handel - ontwikkelingslanden - ecologie - sociologie - bananen - cacao - koffie - sojabonen - thee - brazilië - costa rica - ivoorkust - tanzania - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - sociale economie - belgië - internationale handel - liberalisering van de handel - handelsrelaties - economische aspecten - agricultural economics - agricultural trade - developing countries - ecology - sociology - bananas - cocoa - coffee - soyabeans - tea - brazil - costa rica - cote d'ivoire - tanzania - sustainability - socioeconomics - belgium - international trade - trade liberalization - trade relations - economic aspects
    Deze studie voor het Vlaamse ministerie van Landbouw en Visserij belicht de economische, sociale en ecologische gevolgen van agrarische handel van België met ontwikkelingslanden. Het onderzoek spitst zich toe op een vijftal producten (banaan, cacao, koffie, soja en thee) en vier ontwikkelingslanden (Brazilië, Costa Rica, Ivoorkust en Tanzania). Het oordeel over de mate van duurzaamheid wordt gebaseerd op de vier landenstudies, uitgevoerd door lokale onderzoekers, waarbij een beperkt aantal indicatoren is meegenomen. Naar voren komt dat met name de twee Latijns Amerikaanse landen negatieve ecologische gevolgen van handel (in soja en banaan) ondervinden, en dat in de Afrikaanse landen de negatieve sociaal-economische aspecten de meeste aandacht vragen. This study for the Flemish Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries sheds light on the economic, social and ecological effects of Belgium's agricultural trade with developing countries. The study focuses on five products (bananas, cocoa, coffee, soya and tea) and four developing countries (Brazil, Costa Rica, Côte d'Ivoire and Tanzania). The assessment of the level of sustainability is based on the four country studies, conducted by local researchers, and taking into account a limited number of indicators. It emerges that the two Latin American countries experience negative ecological effects of trade (in soya and bananas), and that in the African countries the negative social-economic aspects require most attention.
    Carbon sequestration in tropical grassland ecosystems
    Mannetje, L. t; Amézquita, M.C. ; Buurman, P. ; Ibrahim, M.A. - \ 2008
    Wageningen : Wageningen Academic Publishers - ISBN 9789086860265 - 300
    tropische graslanden - ecosystemen - koolstofsekwestratie - opwarming van de aarde - bodem - vegetatie - milieubeleid - latijns-amerika - costa rica - koolstofvastlegging in de bodem - tropical grasslands - ecosystems - carbon sequestration - global warming - soil - vegetation - environmental policy - latin america - costa rica - soil carbon sequestration
    The increasing scientific consensus on global warming, together with the precautionary principle and the fear of non-linear climate transitions is leading to increasing action to mitigate global warming. To help mitigate global warming, carbon storage by forests is often mentioned as the only or the best way to reduce the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. This book presents evidence that tropical grasslands, which cover 50% of the earth’s surface, are as important as forests for the sequestration of carbon. Results are reported of a large five year on-farm research project carried out in Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica). Soil and vegetation carbon stocks of long-established pasture, fodder bank and silvopastoral systems on commercial farms were compared with those of adjacent forest and degraded land. The objective was to identify production systems that both increase livestock productivity and farm income and, at the same time, contribute to a reduction of carbon accumulation in the atmosphere. The project was carried out in four ecosystems: the Andean hillsides of the semi-evergreen forest in Colombia; the Colombian humid Amazonian tropical forest ecosystem; the sub-humid tropical forest ecosystem on the Pacific Coast of Costa Rica; and the humid tropical forest ecosystem on the Atlantic Coast of Costa Rica.
    Advice drainage plan Farm 70 : Salamá, Puntarenas, Costa Rica
    Ritzema, H.P. - \ 2007
    Wageningen : Alterra (Alterra-Report Farm 70) - 13
    bosplantages - ontwerpberekeningen - costa rica - teak - drainagesystemen - tectona grandis - ontwerp - forest plantations - design calculations - costa rica - teak - drainage systems - tectona grandis - design
    This report presents a “second” opinion of the drainage plan for the teak plantation Farm 70, in Costa Rica. The Dutch Foundation Terra Vitalis has requested this second opinion on the drainage plan prepared by the BARCA Company for Farm 70, Puntarenas, Costa Rica. This teak farm is located in the southwest region of Costa Rica, a region characterized by high rainfall, especially in the period May to November. The BARCA Company is developing the area as a teak reforestation plantation. Because of the heavy rainfall intensity, flat topography, soils with low hydraulic conductivity and impermeable layers close to the soil surface, an intensive drainage system is required. The report discusses options to reduce the risk of high water tables in this teak plantation (71.56 ha)
    Quality management and strategic alliances in the mango supply chain from Costa Rica : an interdisciplinary approach for analysing coordination, incentives and governance
    Zuniga Arias, G. - \ 2007
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Arie Kuyvenhoven; Ruerd Ruben, co-promotor(en): Tiny van Boekel. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085047407 - 149
    mangifera indica - mango's - analyse van besluiten - kwaliteit - tropisch fruit - costa rica - agro-industriële ketens - ketenmanagement - spelsimulatie - mangifera indica - mangoes - decision analysis - quality - tropical fruits - costa rica - agro-industrial chains - supply chain management - gaming simulation
    Supply chain management is vital for understanding the behaviour of economic agents involved in exchange. Moreover, it is a way to respond to consumer preferences by integrating the efforts and requirements of all actors involved in transactions. Agricultural commodities are articulated in demand-driven chains, where most of the power is at the retailer level. This power is also reflected in terms of revenue distribution and quality requirements. Producers are - in order to defend themselves against the power executed by the retailers – oriented towards several diversified outlets, they avoid hold-up and vertical integration, and maintain several degrees of quality for their produce. The main concepts involved in this study refer to governance, coordination, quality management and strategic alliances. These concepts are emerged in the analysis of the mango supply chain and interact simultaneously with each other. The operational analysis focuses on the determinants of market outlet choice, economic incentives for improving quality, bargaining power and revenue distribution, and quality and variability management throughout the chain. This study offers two major contributions at (i) the methodological and (ii) the empirical level. In methodological terms, a simulation gaming approach is used to understand the bargaining power and the strategic behaviour of different actors in the mango chain, using an interdisciplinary framework for natural and social science. In terms of the empirical and exploratory analysis, issues related to variability management and bargaining relations are operationalised while relying on both partial and integrated supply chain analysis. This study is based on a quantitative analysis of the transactions and relationships of different agents throughout the mango chain from Costa Rica. For this purpose, we combine different analytical tools and concepts derived from the structure-conduct-performance framework, institutional economics, the techno-managerial approach, and quality management, while paying particular attention to their interfaces and interactions. The results show the importance of the farm household characteristics, production system organisation and agreement characteristics as key elements for enhancing quality performance, improving bargaining power and selecting better market outlets for the produce.
    Appraisal of the Epidemiology of Neospora caninum Infection in Costa Rican Dairy Cattle
    Romero Zúñiga, J.J. - \ 2005
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Mart de Jong, co-promotor(en): Klaas Frankena; E. Pérez Gutiérrez. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789085042709 - 137
    melkkoeien - melkveestapel - neospora caninum - neosporose - melkresultaten - voortplanting - abortus - vaccins - epidemiologie - costa rica - dairy cows - dairy herds - neospora caninum - neosporosis - dairy performance - reproduction - abortion - vaccines - epidemiology - costa rica
    Costa Rica, milk production has increased gradually during the twentieth century, in which the activity developed from a non-technical to a technical activity. Together with the evolution of the dairy sector, the incidence of infectious and metabolic diseases increased, leading to increased economic losses. According to a VAMPP data base, the global percentage of abortion during the period between 1988 and 2003 varied between 7.5 and 12%; but at individual farms abortion rates close to 30% occurred in one or more years. Abortion is one of the most important economic disorders.Since the 90´sneosporosis( N.caninum ) has been associated with abortion andfoetallosses in cattle all over the world.In 1996, a study stated (for the first time) the presence ofneosporosisinCosta Ricaand N.caninum was diagnosed (Perez et al., 1998).The aim of this thesis is to describe the most important features ofneosporosisin Costa Rican dairy cattle in order to develop strategies for the prevention and control of the infection. The main results of this thesis are: 1)no significant effects ofNeosporaserostatuswere detected on (re)productive performance; 2) theassociation between management and environmental factors withserostatuswas found to be absent3) in the specific conditions of the dairy herds involved in this study, theserostatusof the cows should be not used as predictor of theserostatusof daughters due to the high probability of horizontal transmission, 4) the killed wholeNeosporacaninumtachyzoitepreparation reduced the abortion rate in Costa Rican dairy cattle.
    Ananas snijden : hier of daar? : een Aladin-analyse
    Tromp, S.O. - \ 2004
    Wageningen : Agrotechnology & Food Innovations (Report / Agrotechnology & Food Innovations 148) - ISBN 9789067547772 - 30
    ananassen - import - in plakken snijden - zeetransport - luchttransport - kosten-batenanalyse - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - costa rica - ghana - pineapples - imports - slicing - sea transport - air transport - cost benefit analysis - sustainability - costa rica - ghana
    Hay que jornalear: un análisis de las estrategias adaptivas de pequeños productores en la región atlántica de Costa Rica
    Alfaro Monge, R.A. - \ 2003
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): N.E. Long, co-promotor(en): Ruerd Ruben. - Wageningen : Wageningen Universiteit - ISBN 9789058087904 - 173
    ontwikkelingsstudies - rurale sociologie - landgebruiksplanning - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - agrarische bedrijfsvoering - sociale economie - levensstandaarden - kleine landbouwbedrijven - modernisering - etnografie - costa rica - development studies - rural sociology - land use planning - sustainability - farm management - socioeconomics - living standards - small farms - modernization - ethnography - costa rica
    Picturing planning perspectives. Understanding implementation of geographical information systems for land use planning and regulation in the Costa Rican State
    Vos, H. de - \ 2003
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): Paul Richards; N.G. Röling. - [S.l.] : S.n. - ISBN 9789058089762 - 279
    geografische informatiesystemen - sociale verandering - sociologische analyse - landgebruiksplanning - planning - regelingen - technologie - costa rica - geographical information systems - social change - sociological analysis - land use planning - planning - regulations - technology - costa rica
    GIS projects for Third World governments were expected to lead to better land use policies. Instead computers have not been used, and GIS projects were often referred to as normal'>new white elephants . This book investigates problems of GIS implementation in three Costa Rican ministries. It reveals that embedding technology is part of complex institutional processes where actors and politics shape contexts.By linking an historical analysis of land use planning with case studies, the book demonstrates that GIS implementation was strategically used for new coordinating roles that were ascribed to the Costa Rican State. In this way GIS implementation problems had more to do with the slow process of state reform than with information production and mapmaking.

    The author explores the idea of 'techno-structuration' explaining that problems of GIS transfer are as much about human agents and organisations as they are about technological issues. GIS implementation projects must therefore take the historical, institutional and political aspects of its application field into account when designing information production and its use. Picturing Planning Perspectives will be of interest to scholars in the field of geography and planning as well as to policy makers and development experts involved in GIS projects, state reform and governance.
    El Desarrollo del Turismo Sostenible; Los Casos de Manuel Antonio y Texel
    Duim, V.R. van der; Caalders, J.D.A.D. ; Cordero, A. ; Duynen Montijn, L. van; Ritsma, N. - \ 2003
    San José CR : Flacso - ISBN 9789977681214 - 228
    toerisme - ontwikkeling van toerisme - impact van toerisme - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - marktverkenningen - gegevens verzamelen - costa rica - nederland - nederlandse waddeneilanden - tourism - tourism development - tourism impact - sustainability - market surveys - data collection - costa rica - netherlands - dutch wadden islands
    Hoe (be)grijpen we de toerist? Onderzoek naar tijd-ruimtelijke samenhang in toeristisch gedrag
    Elands, B.H.M. - \ 2003
    Vrijetijdstudies 20 (2003)3. - ISSN 1384-2439 - p. 37 - 54.
    toerisme - toeristisch onderzoek - vrijetijdsgedrag - tijdsbesteding - nederland - costa rica - belgië - tourism - tourism research - leisure behaviour - time allocation - netherlands - belgium
    Dit artikel is gebaseerd op het proefschrift van auteur (Wageningen, 2002). Empirisch onderzoek is verricht in twee gebieden: de Euregio Maas-Rijn en Costa Rica. Met behulp van dagboekjes en enquêtes is inzage verkregen in de vakantiepaden, de zoektocht naar ervaringen en het voorkomen van routines van toeristen. Een onvoorspelbare toerist in dit onderzoek niet teruggevonden
    Land Speculation as a Cause of Deforestation : The Role of Cattle Ranching in the Humid Tropics of Costa Rica
    Roebeling, P.C. ; Hendrix, E.M.T. - \ 2002
    In: Proceedings : Risk and Uncertainty in Environmental and Resource Economics, Wageningen, 2002 / van Ierland, E.C., Weikard, H.P., Wesseler, J., Wageningen : Env. Economics and Natural Resources Group - p. 10 - 10.
    ontbossing - overdrachten van grond - rundveeteelt - investering - besluitvorming - grondprijzen - onzekerheid - costa rica - deforestation - land transfers - cattle farming - investment - decision making - land prices - uncertainty
    This paper examines the effect of land speculation on investment decisions by cattle ranchers in Latin America, and the subsequent consequences for deforestation under varying levels of land price uncertainty and interest rate subsidy. Based on the Neoclassical investment theory, a stochastic reversible investment model with adjustment costs is developed in which land prices are modeled as a geometric Brownian motion. Analytical results indicate that: 1) the optimal rate of investment is dependent on the price of land at a specific moment in time, 2) the value of the farm increases with the variance in land prices due to speculative returns from land, and 3) the maximum farm size attained over time will be larger, the larger the variance in land prices. For the numerical example of an average cattle rancher in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica, it is shown that lower fluctuations in land prices lead to a reduction in these speculative returns, as well as a reduction in the maximum farm size attained over time. This effect is further reinforced in combination with lower interest rate subsidies. Consequently, it can be concluded that variability in land prices alone is a sufficient condition for land speculation and subsequent deforestation of agrarian frontier areas by cattle ranchers in the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica, and that this deforestation is further promoted by subsidized livestock credit
    Iguana production: hope or scope?
    Eilers, C.H.A.M. - \ 2002
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): H. van Keulen; W.J. Koops. - S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789058085597 - 153
    iguana - bedrijfssystemen - dierlijke productie - agrosilvopastorale systemen - marketing - panama - costa rica - nicaragua - iguana - farming systems - animal production - agrosilvopastoral systems - marketing - panama - costa rica - nicaragua
    Iguanas offer an opportunity to establish a balanced production system in which economically viable conditions for the smallholders can be realised together with conservation of the natural forest and production of animal protein. The objectives of this study were to analyse existing iguana production systems in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama as the basis for the design of an integrated iguana production system, taking into account various goals of stakeholders of the system, such as governments, Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and farmers. The study yielded prospects and constraints for iguana farming and their implications for the system as a whole, the smallholders, the natural forest and the iguanas. To identify the problems and resolve conflicting goals among stakeholders, a soft system approach was used. Two stakeholder groups, Farmers and Organisations, discussed the production system. Organisations consisted of officials from government and NGOs. Discussions resulted in conceptual models, with which problems were identified and feasibility of possible solutions was explored. The soft systems approach proved to be adequate to identify prospects and constraints and their implications. The development of iguana production systems in Panama was compared at different phases of its development with the introduction of other new production systems of non-traditional species. The study revealed six key factors for introduction and development of new production systems. These factors could be distinguished by conditions that are needed to start a new production system: biology, support and market; and by limitations that can impede the development of new production systems: information, social conditions and legislation. Comparing key factors among production systems enabled us to explore the scope for development of production systems and their prospects and constraints. All key factors appeared negative for iguana production. In spite of the formation of farmers' associations and the exchange of information and experiences among farmers, advisors and other stakeholders, the diffusion of the production system will be constrained by lack of market opportunities for iguana products, lack of support and biological problems in iguana production.
    De toerist op het spoor : onderzoek naar de tijd-ruimtelijke samenhang in toeristisch gedrag als expressie van een zoektocht naar betekenisvolle ervaringen
    Elands, B. - \ 2002
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): A.G.J. Dietvorst; S. de Vries. - S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789058085382 - 210
    toerisme - toeristisch onderzoek - toeristen - mensen - bezoekersgedrag - menselijk gedrag - tijd - roodbont maas-rijn-ijsselvee - west-europa - costa rica - ruimtelijke verdeling - tijdsbesteding - ruimte - tourism - tourism research - tourists - people - visitor behaviour - spatial distribution - time allocation - human behaviour - time - meuse-rhine-yssel - western europe - costa rica - space

    Tourist behaviour is increasingly considered to be both erratic and unpredictable. This is due to, among other things, an enormous increase of leisure products and an expanding range in both the temporal-spatial reach and financial power of consumers. Traditional classifications of tourist types, based on demographic or socio-economic characteristics, are less and less able to explain actual holiday behaviour. Moreover, preferences of tourists seem to be changing at an ever greater speed. This unpredictability makes it increasingly difficult for tourist entrepreneurs to make product adjustments based on the market. In terms of product life cycle, a constant renewing of the product is necessary to keep it attractive and innovations need to follow one another more and more quickly. Eventually, due to this development products will be outdated as soon as they appear on the market. This is especially true when taking into account those physical elements of the tourist product that are relatively fixed (such as the landscape, roads, hotels). There is a need to find more stable or permanent elements in tourist preferences for them to be useful as a base for product development. These elements may serve as a point of departure for the development of a physically and economically sustainable tourist product.

    La modernización del clientelismo en el Atlántico de Costa Rica
    Vries, P.A. de - \ 2001
    San José, Costa Rica : EUNA - ISBN 9789977652184 - 394
    landbouwbeleid - landbouwontwikkeling - plattelandsontwikkeling - ontwikkelingsprojecten - modernisering - boeren - costa rica - bureaucratie - agricultural policy - agricultural development - rural development - development projects - modernization - farmers - bureaucracy
    Formalizing agro-ecological knowledge for future-oriented land use studies
    Hengsdijk, H. - \ 2001
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): R. Rabbinge; H. van Keulen; M.K. van Ittersum. - S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789058085306 - 146
    systeemanalyse - landgebruik - bedrijfssystemen - ontwerp - variatie in de tijd - ruimtelijke variatie - onzekerheid - west-afrika - costa rica - simulatiemodellen - agro-ecologie - agro-ecosystemen - systems analysis - land use - farming systems - design - temporal variation - spatial variation - uncertainty - west africa - costa rica - simulation models - agroecology - agroecosystems

    Keywords : agro-ecological engineering, land use system, modeling, uncertainty, temporal variability, Costa Rica, West Africa.

    Identification and ex-ante assessment of alternative land use systems is increasingly important to develop systems that are able to fulfill multiple and possibly conflicting needs of mankind.

    This study contributes to the development of a formalized approach to identify and engineer future-oriented land use systems at the field level enabling the systematic exploration of land use options at farm and regional level. Case study data from the Atlantic zone of Costa Rica and West Africa are used to develop, test and elaborate the required approach, and to implement the approach in two operational tools.

    A generic procedure is presented consisting of three steps: (i) goal-oriented identification and design of land use systems, (ii) quantification of biophysical production possibilities and (iii) identification of the optimal mix of inputs required to realize production possibilities. Typically, this approach addresses the future and explores possible alternatives and not plausible or probable developments. The approach is based on the integration and synthesis of process-based knowledge of physical, chemical, physiological and ecological processes involved, and empirical data and expert knowledge regarding agronomic and livestock relationships using a variety of numerical tools. The procedure allows to efficiently engineer future-oriented land use systems that are consistent with the objectives at stake while no options are excluded in an early phase of development.

    Consequences of various sources of uncertainty, i.e. in process knowledge and data, and in temporal variation, are made explicit for inputs and outputs of engineered land use systems. These analyses enable a better management or reduction of uncertainty through the identification of alternative systems with smaller uncertainty margins, and identification of research aimed at a more complete understanding of involved processes.

    The existing conceptual engineering framework is expanded with an approach that allows taking into account non-equilibrium soil N-conditions. The development of N-dynamics of various crop rotations is made explicit, so that their long-term effects on the productive capacity of land use systems can be accounted for in making decisions.

    Implementation of the approach in two operational tools shows that formalization of agro-ecological knowledge is a means to improve communication among research disciplines, empirical and theoretical research, and stakeholders and researchers. The tools can be used stand-alone and enable the exploration of land use options at farm and regional level.

    Developing sustainable tourism : the case of Manuel Antonio and Texel
    Duim, V.R. van der; Caalders, J. ; Cordero, A. ; Duynen Montijn, L. van; Ritsma, N. - \ 2001
    Wageningen : Wageningen University - 163
    toerisme - ontwikkeling van toerisme - impact van toerisme - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - marktverkenningen - gegevens verzamelen - costa rica - nederland - nederlandse waddeneilanden - tourism - tourism development - tourism impact - sustainability - market surveys - data collection - netherlands - dutch wadden islands
    Scaling the land use system : a modelling approach with case studies for Central America
    Kok, K. - \ 2001
    Wageningen University. Promotor(en): J. Bouma; L.O. Fresco; A. Veldkamp. - S.l. : S.n. - ISBN 9789058083555 - 153
    landgebruik - landevaluatie - modellen - ruimtelijke variatie - costa rica - land use - land evaluation - models - spatial variation - costa rica


    There is a growing demand for quantitative information on actual land use/land cover and their future changes in space and time. Particularly during the last decade, land use and land cover change have become important issues. Besides local and direct effects like loss of biodiversity through deforestation or soil degradation through unsustainable land use, increasing importance is given to the global impact of more indirect (future) effects like greenhouse gas emissions and carbon fixation.

    The land use system is highly complex and this notion of complexity has consequences for the way the system should be described. Theories applied in this thesis draw from ecology, a field of science that has acquired ample experience in describing the complexity of the ecosystem. The land use system was considered to be functionally complex, i.e. land use patterns are governed by a broad variety of potential spatial determinants. International agreements initiated by e.g. the United Nations, World Bank or GATT influence regional and national policies that trickle down to local decision-makers and that will ultimately affect farmers' decision to change land use. A second property of the land use system was its structural complexity, that is, which variables will emerge as important spatial determinants of land use depends largely on the adopted (spatial) scale of analysis. Finding ways to translate information among scales is one of the fundamental challenges faced by researchers in land use analysis. Models are crucial tools to help understand the dynamics and complexity of a land use system. The CLUE (Conversion of Land Use and its Effects) modelling framework was selected as the appropriate means to model land use change. It was one of the few examples of land use models that take into account both structural and functional complexity.


    The main objectives of this study were to analyse the present land use patterns and to project possible future pathways of the dynamics of those patterns for a number of hierarchically nested cases. Following the structure of the CLUE modelling framework, three sub-objectives were formulated:

    1. To identify biogeophysical and socioeconomic determinants of land use patterns at different spatial extents and resolutions, by means of an empirical analysis of actual land use systems.
    2. To analyse demand for the major agricultural commodities at the national or regional level and to develop a limited number of scenarios that explore plausible future pathways of land use change.
    3. To spatially explicit allocate national changes as projected in those scenarios, using the information of the spatial analysis of the land use system.

    Study area

    All case studies concerned (parts of) Central America. The region has specific characteristics that made it very suitable for the research described in this thesis. Firstly, biophysical, climatic, and socioeconomic gradients are steep over small distances, which induces a strong variation in land use over relatively small areas. High mountain ranges with steep slopes, shallow soils, low temperatures, and low population densities could be near to flat, fertile, and hot lowlands that were densely populated. Secondly, the area included six countries that display large economic and political differences. Honduras and Nicaragua rank among the poorest in the Western Hemisphere, while Costa Rica is one of the more stable and robust democracies of Latin America based on a strong, export-led, development. Finally, most countries collected extensive data sets. Detailed agricultural censuses exist for Honduras and Costa Rica, and because of the presence of a research centre of Wageningen University, an outstanding data set exists for the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica. As a result, Central America offered the unique possibility to construct a hierarchically nested range of case studies to systematically analyse land use dynamics that are influenced by a variety of factors over a range of spatial scales. A total of four case studies were modelled: the Atlantic Zone of Costa Rica ('Atlantic Zone'), Costa Rica, Honduras, and Central America.

    Statistical analysis

    Within this thesis, the quantification of the relationships between land use and their spatial determinants for the Atlantic Zone (Chapter 2), Honduras (Chapter 3), and all countries of Central America (Chapter 4) were discussed. Except for the Atlantic Zone, agricultural censuses were always the main source of spatially explicit land use data. Despite the huge amount of information, little use has been made of this potentially valuable data source. All data were transformed to a raster. Instead of using uniform grid cells with one dominant land use and e.g. one type of soil, sub-grid information (using percentages) was present for most of the spatial determinants and each land use. Spatial resolution ranged from 2 × 2 km for the Atlantic Zone to 75 × 75 km for Central America. Spatial extent varied between 5,000 km 2and 500,000 km 2. For all cases, the influence of spatial scale was quantified by executing the statistical analysis at a range of spatial resolutions or spatial extents. Specific results varied from case to case, but the following general conclusions applied:

    • The patterns of land uses that produce basic foodstuffs (maize, beans, rice, pasture) were very well explained, whereas distributions of crops that are export-oriented (bananas, coffee, sugar cane) were less well captured.
    • Socioeconomic, soil-related, climatic and sometimes (Atlantic Zone) political factors were necessary to describe land use patterns. Omission of whichever of those groups of variables from the analysis would impoverish results, which proved that the land use system is functionally complex.
    • Relationships were relatively stable over time. Although total quantities as well as patterns changed considerably in all cases, composition of explaining variables remained relatively constant.
    • Relationships were not very sensitive for changes in spatial resolution. In none of the cases, large changes in composition of explaining variables were observed with changing spatial resolution.
    • Description of land use patterns proved very sensitive to changes in spatial extent as demonstrated by varying extent between national and regional (Chapter 4). The importance of national borders suggested that the search for scale dependencies should focus on administrative or political levels rather than on biophysically defined levels, as is proposed by ecosystem theory. This would call for a separate land use system theory.
    • Spatial determinants of land use change were sometimes counterintuitive and contradicted prevailing hypotheses on causes of land use change. A variety of examples substantiated the plea to start an analysis at coarser scales with empirical methodologies.

    Scenario development

    The near future area changes of land use at the national or regional (Atlantic Zone) level were studied by developing a limited number of plausible scenarios. The time period for which scenarios were developed varied from case to case, but usually started in the early 1990s and finished in 2005 or 2010. Scenarios were developed for a number of commodities that translated into a smaller number of land uses. Scenarios were divided into two types. In the demand-controlled scenarios, only the total area to be allocated was variable. Changes in land use depended on (macro-)economic, demographic, and crop specific factors at national level. Most important factors included population growth, income growth, export/import development, and yield. All variants of the developed base scenario (market liberalisation; market protection; 1%, 3%, and 5% GDP growth) and the sustainable scenario belonged to this type. In the allocation-controlled scenarios, land use changes also depended on spatially specific allocation conditions. The developed park protection scenario, where deforestation within national parks was inhibited, was an example of this type. The natural hazard scenario described in Chapter 5 was an example of a realistic scenario that combined changes in demand with location-specific alterations.

    Spatially explicit modelling

    Resulting maps from the allocation module of the CLUE modelling framework were discussed for the Atlantic Zone (Chapter 2), and Honduras and Central America (Chapter 5). The allocation module combined the spatially explicit information obtained from the multi-scale empirical analyses and the non-spatial area development from the scenario studies. Results from the various cases, mostly maps of hot-spots of change, demonstrated the feasibility of the application of the CLUE model at different spatial scales. Satisfactory results were obtained for the Atlantic Zone as well as for Central America as a whole. Results of the natural hazard scenario for Honduras separately and for Central America indicated the likeliness of the effects of a hurricane on land use patterns, though initially strong, to largely disappear within a period of 10 year. Concepts from ecology were used to illustrate the modelled behaviour of the land use system. CLUE thus proved to be able to mimic spatially explicit land use changes for a number of diverging scenarios. The effects of protecting national parks, macroeconomic changes, as well as an extreme weather event could be evaluated.


    In spite of the large number of models and in spite of a general agreement that validation should be an essential part of any model, the majority lacked a validity check, often because of data problems. All case studies in this thesis were validated, also because for all cases independent data from two different points in time was available. Statistical relationships between land use and their spatial determinants were established for the older of the two data sets. Subsequently, the CLUE allocation module was run, starting at the oldest year until the most recent year. Validation was quantified by statistically comparing the modelled and actual land use changes. For the Atlantic Zone, Honduras and Costa Rica, the allocation module of the CLUE model was successfully validated, yielding satisfactory coefficients of determination for the relationships between actual and modelled land use patterns. Besides, for Honduras and Costa Rica a multi-scale validation was executed, as it should accompany multi-scale analysis and multi-scale modelling. Results improved strongly, and exponentially, with a coarsening of spatial resolution. Validations demonstrated that the CLUE modelling framework could reproduce changes as they took place in Central America between the 1970s and 1990s.


    Three possible groups of users of the CLUE model were identified, namely other modellers, farmers, and national or regional policy makers. The development of the CLUE modelling framework was initiated by a demand from the global modelling community. Eventually, a number of land use models could be used together in a sequence, forming a so-called modelling tool-box. Results of a coarse scale model could help focus other more detailed models, which could then be employed to model local processes. In its present form, the CLUE model would have little value at the farm level. The model, however, was constructed such that neither the application at a more detailed level, nor the replacement of statistical equations by any other kind of (process-based) rules would be problematic. Policy makers at various organisational levels are a group of potential stakeholders that could be addressed with the model in its present form. The Central America case study presented in Chapter 5 was an example of how this could function in practice. The mutually beneficial collaboration between various international institutes showed how a model like CLUE, designed primarily to fulfil scientific needs, was used by other stakeholders. The incorporation of a knowledge-broker, an intermediary that links the people who use knowledge (policy makers) and those who create it (scientists), provided the setting for the successful communication.

    How liverworts build hanging gardens from volcanic ash in Costa Rica
    Jongmans, A.G. ; Breemen, N. van; Gradstein, S.R. ; Oort, F. van - \ 2001
    Catena 44 (2001). - ISSN 0341-8162 - p. 13 - 22.
    vulkanische gronden - bodemmicromorfologie - levermossen - costa rica - volcanic soils - soil micromorphology - liverworts - costa rica
    Dealing with variation in space and time : the challenge for a forward-looking approach to precision agriculture
    Bouma, J. - \ 2000
    In: Proceedings of the fifth international conference on precision agriculture
    besluitvorming - bananen - opbrengsten - simulatiemodellen - remote sensing - nederland - costa rica - precisielandbouw - decision making - bananas - yields - simulation models - remote sensing - netherlands - costa rica - precision agriculture
    Current land policy in Latin America : Regulating land tenure under neo-liberalism
    Zoomers, A. ; Haar, G. van der - \ 2000
    Amsterdam [etc.] : Royal Tropical Institute, KIT Publishers [etc.] - ISBN 9789068321371 - 333
    grondbeleid - landgebruik - grondeigendom - bezit - grondmarkten - landhervorming - costa rica - mexico - bolivia - honduras - latijns-amerika - hulpbronnenbeheer - duurzaamheid (sustainability) - man-vrouwrelaties - plattelandsontwikkeling - liberalisme - land policy - land use - land ownership - property - land markets - land reform - resource management - sustainability - gender relations - rural development - costa rica - mexico - bolivia - honduras - latin america - liberalism
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