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Drivers of land-use changes in societies with decreasing populations: A comparison of the factors affecting farmland abandonment in a food production area in Japan

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Title: Drivers of land-use changes in societies with decreasing populations: A comparison of the factors affecting farmland abandonment in a food production area in Japan
Authors: Kobayashi, Yoshiko Browse this author
Higa, Motoki Browse this author
Higashiyama, Kan Browse this author
Nakamura, Futoshi Browse this author →KAKEN DB
Issue Date: 24-Jul-2020
Publisher: PLOS
Journal Title: PLoS ONE
Volume: 15
Issue: 7
Start Page: e0235846
Publisher DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0235846
Abstract: The extraordinary population growth of the 20th century will subside in the 21st century, followed by depopulation, constituting the first population decline phase in human history in Japan and other developed countries. The drivers of land-use change during the population decline phase are expected to differ from those of the population growth phase; however, research on land-use drivers during the decline phase is limited. Identifying these drivers is necessary to develop effective management plans for biodiversity and ecosystem services in the decline phase. First, we calculated the probability of farmland abandonment in Hokkaido, a Japanese food production area, from 1973-2009 and divided the period into the population growth phase (1978-1997) and the decline phase (1997-2009). We examined various geographical and social factors that were assumed to alter the land use during these two phases. Geographical and social conditions are key factors in determining the probability of farmland abandonment, but their influences varied between the two phases. The farmlands located on geographically uncultivable sites, such as marginal, underproductive, narrow, and steep land, were abandoned during these phases; however, social conditions, such as the distance from densely inhabited districts (DIDs) and the population, exerted opposite effects during these two phases. Farmland abandonment occurred near DIDs (i.e., urban areas) during the population growth phase, whereas farmland abandonment occurred far from DIDs and sparsely populated farmlands during the decline phase. Farmland abandonment was strongly affected by government policy during the population growth phase, but the policy weakened during the decline phase, which triggered farmland abandonment throughout Hokkaido. The geographical and social drivers found in the present study may provide new insights for other developed countries experiencing depopulation problems.
Type: article
Appears in Collections:農学院・農学研究院 (Graduate School of Agriculture / Faculty of Agriculture) > 雑誌発表論文等 (Peer-reviewed Journal Articles, etc)

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