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The geography of large-scale land acquisitions: Analysing socio-ecological patterns of target contexts in the global South

By: Peter Messerli, Markus Giger, Michael B. Dwyer, Thomas Breu, Sandra Eckert

This paper published in the journal Applied Geography uses a wide range of data covering such categories as land cover, population density and area accessibility to quantitatively analyze 139 transnational large-scale land acquisitions for agriculture. A frequently cited reason for promoting transnational large-scale land acquisition is that foreign investors target and increase the productivity of idle, underused, and marginal lands that are suitable for agriculture. This study challenges this perception by concluding that a majority of the land deals studied involved land that was easily to moderately accessible and densely to moderately populated. The study examines these quantitative findings in the light of numerous qualitative case studies, which have demonstrated that large-scale land acquisitions in areas of significant population density and accessible cultivated land intensify competition over land and natural resources to the detriment of local communities.

Keywords: large-scale land acquisitions, geospatial analysis, socio-ecological indicators, Land Matrix.

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Uploaded on: Aug 14, 2015
Last Updated: Dec 04, 2015
Year Published: 2014
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