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A multi-scale analysis of biofuel-related land acquisitions in Tanzania : with focus on Sweden as an investor

Johansson, Emma LU (2013) In Student thesis series INES NGEM01 20131
Dept of Physical Geography and Ecosystem Science
Abstract
Spurred on by pressure to find sustainable energy production alternatives to fossil fuels, many industries have been acquiring land in order to plant crops for biofuel production. In Tanzania, biofuel development is in an early stage, and over the last decade, several foreign actors have tried to start up biofuel projects in the country (without success). Land acquisitions are seen by many as a foreign investment and a way for developed countries to transfer resources to the Global South. The land deals have not yet been for the benefit of the local population, and have caused long-term negative social and environmental impacts.

The overall purpose of this thesis is to clarify the structure of the land acquisition system in Tanzania... (More)
Spurred on by pressure to find sustainable energy production alternatives to fossil fuels, many industries have been acquiring land in order to plant crops for biofuel production. In Tanzania, biofuel development is in an early stage, and over the last decade, several foreign actors have tried to start up biofuel projects in the country (without success). Land acquisitions are seen by many as a foreign investment and a way for developed countries to transfer resources to the Global South. The land deals have not yet been for the benefit of the local population, and have caused long-term negative social and environmental impacts.

The overall purpose of this thesis is to clarify the structure of the land acquisition system in Tanzania especially in relation to biofuels over a 10-year time horizon, with Sweden’s role in the system emphasized. Since the land acquisition system is complex, it is important to be able to disentangle this complexity in a structured way across local, national, and global scales in order to shed light on what is driving the investments, and what the positive and negative outcomes are. In order to accomplish this task, a modified multi-level Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) scheme is applied to information gathered about the land transaction system from field visits, and literature. DPSIR is a causal framework that allows the representation of environment-society relationships to be recast in a tractable format for helping with policy decisions. Each letter of the DPSIR scheme represents an element of the land transaction system at a global, national, and local scale, and in this case is used to tease out cross-scale relationships between system aspects. The scales are linked together through the story of EcoEnergy, a Swedish biofuel company that is acquiring land in Tanzania.

Results show that global drivers ultimately lie behind the phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania and include increased oil prices, climate change, population growth, and policies promoting biofuels. National drivers include climate mitigation strategies, and social and agricultural developments. Locally, business opportunities are important, amongst others. Global pressures include land cover change, altered rainfall patterns, and the competition between food and fuel crops. They manifest themselves nationally and locally through, deforestation, migration, changes in land tenure (national), as well as household displacement, and water extraction (local). Many biofuel companies in Tanzania are currently not active, because they have gone bankrupt, sold the operation, or have trouble starting the business. This is mainly a consequence of the financial crisis in 2007/2008 that led many banks and investors to withdraw from these rather “insecure” investments. Also, investments that are not currently in progress have continuous impacts on the local community since leases normally last for 99 years, thus hindering the small-scale farmer to use the land. National impacts are such as migration, and loss of endemic species and wildlife habitats due to land clearing, but global impacts are not yet apparent. When investments started to increase in the early 2000s, Tanzania did not have proper regulations to control how investors perform, and how to compensate the local population. Tanzania still lacks fully developed regulations for foreign investments, but is trying the investment model “land for equity”. EcoEnergy is the pilot project to develop under this model that might bring more benefits for the government, the investor, and hopefully also for the local community. The new model for investments is an example of a cross-scale interaction between the local and national level, as it has been developed to mitigate local negative impacts.

This thesis underscores that the driving forces creating the state of biofuel-related land acquisitions are mainly global, while the impacts are mainly local. This also relates to the tendency of global processes to develop gradually over a long time, while local processes develop more rapidly. Since the phenomenon is fairly new, the global long-term implications are not yet visible. It is therefore necessary to elaborate on the potential long-term impacts from the investments, which can be done by modelling future scenarios of key drivers on all spatial and temporal scales such as population growth, financial changes, climate change, and future demand for alternative fuels. (Less)
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
Johansson, Emma LU
supervisor
organization
course
NGEM01 20131
year
type
H2 - Master's Degree (Two Years)
subject
keywords
social impacts, environmental impacts, jatropha, sugarcane, Tanzania, Sweden, biofuel, Physical Geography and Ecosystem analysis, Land acquisition, DPSIR
publication/series
Student thesis series INES
report number
288
funder
SIDA, Minor Field Study programme (MFS)
language
English
additional info
External supervisor: Mats Lannerstad, Stockholm Environmental Institute
id
4053592
date added to LUP
2013-09-23 17:40:13
date last changed
2013-09-23 17:40:13
@misc{4053592,
  abstract     = {Spurred on by pressure to find sustainable energy production alternatives to fossil fuels, many industries have been acquiring land in order to plant crops for biofuel production. In Tanzania, biofuel development is in an early stage, and over the last decade, several foreign actors have tried to start up biofuel projects in the country (without success). Land acquisitions are seen by many as a foreign investment and a way for developed countries to transfer resources to the Global South. The land deals have not yet been for the benefit of the local population, and have caused long-term negative social and environmental impacts. 

The overall purpose of this thesis is to clarify the structure of the land acquisition system in Tanzania especially in relation to biofuels over a 10-year time horizon, with Sweden’s role in the system emphasized. Since the land acquisition system is complex, it is important to be able to disentangle this complexity in a structured way across local, national, and global scales in order to shed light on what is driving the investments, and what the positive and negative outcomes are. In order to accomplish this task, a modified multi-level Drivers-Pressures-State-Impact-Response (DPSIR) scheme is applied to information gathered about the land transaction system from field visits, and literature. DPSIR is a causal framework that allows the representation of environment-society relationships to be recast in a tractable format for helping with policy decisions. Each letter of the DPSIR scheme represents an element of the land transaction system at a global, national, and local scale, and in this case is used to tease out cross-scale relationships between system aspects. The scales are linked together through the story of EcoEnergy, a Swedish biofuel company that is acquiring land in Tanzania. 

Results show that global drivers ultimately lie behind the phenomenon of large-scale land acquisitions in Tanzania and include increased oil prices, climate change, population growth, and policies promoting biofuels. National drivers include climate mitigation strategies, and social and agricultural developments. Locally, business opportunities are important, amongst others. Global pressures include land cover change, altered rainfall patterns, and the competition between food and fuel crops. They manifest themselves nationally and locally through, deforestation, migration, changes in land tenure (national), as well as household displacement, and water extraction (local). Many biofuel companies in Tanzania are currently not active, because they have gone bankrupt, sold the operation, or have trouble starting the business. This is mainly a consequence of the financial crisis in 2007/2008 that led many banks and investors to withdraw from these rather “insecure” investments. Also, investments that are not currently in progress have continuous impacts on the local community since leases normally last for 99 years, thus hindering the small-scale farmer to use the land. National impacts are such as migration, and loss of endemic species and wildlife habitats due to land clearing, but global impacts are not yet apparent. When investments started to increase in the early 2000s, Tanzania did not have proper regulations to control how investors perform, and how to compensate the local population. Tanzania still lacks fully developed regulations for foreign investments, but is trying the investment model “land for equity”. EcoEnergy is the pilot project to develop under this model that might bring more benefits for the government, the investor, and hopefully also for the local community. The new model for investments is an example of a cross-scale interaction between the local and national level, as it has been developed to mitigate local negative impacts. 

This thesis underscores that the driving forces creating the state of biofuel-related land acquisitions are mainly global, while the impacts are mainly local. This also relates to the tendency of global processes to develop gradually over a long time, while local processes develop more rapidly. Since the phenomenon is fairly new, the global long-term implications are not yet visible. It is therefore necessary to elaborate on the potential long-term impacts from the investments, which can be done by modelling future scenarios of key drivers on all spatial and temporal scales such as population growth, financial changes, climate change, and future demand for alternative fuels.},
  author       = {Johansson, Emma},
  keyword      = {social impacts,environmental impacts,jatropha,sugarcane,Tanzania,Sweden,biofuel,Physical Geography and Ecosystem analysis,Land acquisition,DPSIR},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  series       = {Student thesis series INES},
  title        = {A multi-scale analysis of biofuel-related land acquisitions in Tanzania : with focus on Sweden as an investor},
  year         = {2013},
}