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Land-use change in the Caucasus during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Baumann, Matthias; Radeloff, Volker C.; Avedian, Vahagn LU and Kuemmerle, Tobias (2015) In Regional Environmental Change 15(8). p.1703-1716
Abstract
Socioeconomic shocks can shape future land-use trajectories. Armed conflicts are an extreme form of a socioeconomic shock, but our understanding of how armed conflicts affect land-use change is limited. Our goal was to assess land-use changes related to the 1991–1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region. We classified multi-temporal Landsat imagery, mapped land-use changes during and after the conflict, and applied matching statistics to isolate the effect of the conflict from other potential drivers of land change. In our study area, local land-use changes were dominated by high farmland abandonment rates of more than 60 % in the conflict zone. Concomitantly, we found a substantial displacement... (More)
Socioeconomic shocks can shape future land-use trajectories. Armed conflicts are an extreme form of a socioeconomic shock, but our understanding of how armed conflicts affect land-use change is limited. Our goal was to assess land-use changes related to the 1991–1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region. We classified multi-temporal Landsat imagery, mapped land-use changes during and after the conflict, and applied matching statistics to isolate the effect of the conflict from other potential drivers of land change. In our study area, local land-use changes were dominated by high farmland abandonment rates of more than 60 % in the conflict zone. Concomitantly, we found a substantial displacement of agricultural activities into nearby Azerbaijani territory (>30 % of all abandoned land in the conflict zone was offset by new agricultural areas on Azerbaijani territory), likely as a consequence of refugee migrations. After the armed conflict ceased, only 17 % of the abandoned fields were re-cultivated, indicating that the land-use system may have transformed profoundly. Our results showed that an armed conflict can have substantial impact on land use. Spatially, our results indicated that armed conflicts may cause lasting land-use change in areas distant from the actual battlegrounds, representing an example of a distant linkage in land systems, in our case caused by refugee movements. Temporally, armed conflicts appear to be able to cause a transition of the land-use system into a new state, akin to other drastic socioeconomic shocks. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to specialist publication or newspaper
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Armenia, Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Land-use change, Landsat, Coarsened exact matching, Local and displaced land-use change, Warfare, Armed conflicts
categories
Popular Science
in
Regional Environmental Change
volume
15
issue
8
pages
1703 - 1716
publisher
Springer
external identifiers
  • wos:000365082400018
  • scopus:84947024979
ISSN
1436-3798
DOI
10.1007/s10113-014-0728-3
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
0f6b8326-2c68-4c17-8e7c-07663f3ac284 (old id 4856460)
alternative location
http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10113-014-0728-3
date added to LUP
2014-12-05 16:15:49
date last changed
2017-06-11 03:00:15
@misc{0f6b8326-2c68-4c17-8e7c-07663f3ac284,
  abstract     = {Socioeconomic shocks can shape future land-use trajectories. Armed conflicts are an extreme form of a socioeconomic shock, but our understanding of how armed conflicts affect land-use change is limited. Our goal was to assess land-use changes related to the 1991–1994 Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Caucasus region. We classified multi-temporal Landsat imagery, mapped land-use changes during and after the conflict, and applied matching statistics to isolate the effect of the conflict from other potential drivers of land change. In our study area, local land-use changes were dominated by high farmland abandonment rates of more than 60 % in the conflict zone. Concomitantly, we found a substantial displacement of agricultural activities into nearby Azerbaijani territory (>30 % of all abandoned land in the conflict zone was offset by new agricultural areas on Azerbaijani territory), likely as a consequence of refugee migrations. After the armed conflict ceased, only 17 % of the abandoned fields were re-cultivated, indicating that the land-use system may have transformed profoundly. Our results showed that an armed conflict can have substantial impact on land use. Spatially, our results indicated that armed conflicts may cause lasting land-use change in areas distant from the actual battlegrounds, representing an example of a distant linkage in land systems, in our case caused by refugee movements. Temporally, armed conflicts appear to be able to cause a transition of the land-use system into a new state, akin to other drastic socioeconomic shocks.},
  author       = {Baumann, Matthias and Radeloff, Volker C. and Avedian, Vahagn and Kuemmerle, Tobias},
  issn         = {1436-3798},
  keyword      = {Armenia,Azerbaijan,Nagorno-Karabakh,Land-use change,Landsat,Coarsened exact matching,Local and displaced land-use change,Warfare,Armed conflicts},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {8},
  pages        = {1703--1716},
  publisher    = {Springer},
  series       = {Regional Environmental Change},
  title        = {Land-use change in the Caucasus during and after the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10113-014-0728-3},
  volume       = {15},
  year         = {2015},
}