Food System Resilience and Sustainability in Cambodia

Food System Resilience and Sustainability in Cambodia

Joseph Messina (Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), Tanita Suepa (Geo-Informatics and Space Technology Development Agency (GISTDA), Bangkok, Thailand), Sieglinde Snapp (Department of Plant, Soil and Microbial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), Jennifer Olson (Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), A. Pouyan Nejadhashemi (Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), Sarah Murray (Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), Nathan Moore (Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), April Frake (Department of Geography, Environment and Spatial Sciences, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA), Peilei Fan (Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA) and Umesh Adhikari (Department of Biosystems and Agricultural Engineering, Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI, USA)
Copyright: © 2017 |Pages: 23
DOI: 10.4018/ijagr.2017070104
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Abstract

Cambodia is witnessing a “Goldilocks moment” in demographic change concurrent with shifts in land use, hydrology, and climate. These trends interact and affect food production, food costs, and food security. Drivers of these trends are typically examined separately with interacting factors considered along disciplinary margins. While science models to explore these interacting effects have been proposed, there remains an applied research gap in integrating these pieces and assessing interdisciplinary opportunities for developing food security solutions. Developed following a request from USAID to elucidate food security conditions in Cambodia, here the authors present their geospatial synthesis of the biophysical and socioeconomic drivers of current food security risk, as well as explore future trends for those conditions. The overall structure shows several interlocking or mutually reinforcing trends in systems that point towards a significant intensification of food insecurity in the near future. They offer an assessment of future targets for food systems innovation.
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Land Cover Change

Outside of the densely populated plains the land is mostly forested, and a large percentage of that land has protected status. Indigenous communities reside in these areas but do not have clear land tenure rights. Land tenure remains a controversial issue. Many property deeds were destroyed in the 1970s civil war, and it is estimated that only one-third of the agricultural population has proper title. Recent land concessions to large-scale private agro-industrial entities have increased feelings of land tenure insecurity, potentially affecting rural settlement patterns (Kizlovkis 2014).

In recent years the extent of forest and other wooded land has fallen rapidly due in part both to deforestation and the conversion to agro-industrial crop plantations such as rubber, oil palm, cassava and jatropha, as well as sugar cane and biofuel crops (Bansok et al., 2011). Figure 1 shows an assessment of areas of forest change and the main reason for the forest cover changes (Broadhead & Izquierdo, 2010).

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