Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Land Use Change

Last Updated: 13 Feb 2021
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Significance of the Study

Land and its uses are essential to all human communities. Every person is shaped in a range of ways by the landscape in which they live, and the products and resources produced on the land. Land and its uses are particularly important for rural communities, where many people are directly dependent on land for their livelihood, and the way land is used has a central role in defining the identity of an area and its community.

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Land as defined by FAO (1976) is “an area of earth’s surface, the characteristics which embrace all reasonably stable or predictably cyclic attributes of the biosphere vertically above and below this area, including those of the atmosphere, the soil, the underlying geology, the hydrology, the plant and animal population and the results of the past and present human activity, to the extent that these attributes influence on the present and future use of the land”.

Land is an important element on earth that is involved in every human activity. This refers to land use. Land use defined in this way establishes a direct link between land cover and the actions of people in their environment (Di Gregorio & Jansen, 1998). In restrictive terms, it refers to those activities of man on, in, over and under the earth’s surface that tend to change the natural state of the land (Serote, 2004). Land use change is a general term for the human modification of Earth's terrestrial surface.

Though humans have been modifying land to obtain food and other essentials for thousands of years, current rates, extents and intensities of land use change are far greater than ever in history, driving unprecedented changes in ecosystems and environmental processes at local, regional and global scales. These changes encompass the greatest environmental concerns of human populations today, including climate change, biodiversity loss and the pollution of water, soils and air (Williams et al. , 2008).

Land use change can either be by natural cause or man induced. Land use changes made in land imply impact both on human and environment. In socioeconomic terms, land is one of three major factors of production in classical economics (along with labor and capital) and an essential input for housing and food production. Thus, land use is the backbone of agricultural economies and it provides substantial economic and social benefits. Land use conversion is necessary and essential for economic development and social progress.

This land use conversion results to land use change. Environmentally speaking, land–use changes are arguably the most pervasive socioeconomic force driving changes and degradation of ecosystems. Deforestation, urban development, agriculture, and other human activities have substantially altered the Earth’s landscape. Such disturbance of the land affects important ecosystem processes and services, which can have wide–ranging and long–term consequences.

There are already studies that have been conducted to determine the socioeconomic and environmental impacts of land use changes in their own respective localities or area of interest. It has been one of the major issues today. According to Sala et al. , (2000) land-use changes are so pervasive that, when aggregated globally, they significantly affect key aspects of Earth System functioning. They directly impact biotic diversity worldwide contribute to local and regional climate change (Chase et al. , 1999) as well as to global climate warming (Houghton et al. 1999); are the primary source of soil degradation (Tolba et al. , 1992); and, by altering ecosystem services, affect the ability of biological systems to support human needs (as cited by Lambin et al. , 2001). Calamba, as a fast growing city in Laguna had made different land use changes in its locality. Land use changes here occur due to different conversion of agricultural based lands into industrial and commercial uses. Different natural phenomenon like flooding contributed also it the changes in land in Calamba. With this development, there are many impacts that took place.

In this study, it would primarily focus on the impacts of land-use change in ten different barangays of Calamba City, Laguna. Identifying the impacts of land-use change would help the local government unit to make necessary actions to either improve positive or prevent negative impacts in the said locality. Proper policy actions can be developed, too. The results of the study will provide information to researchers, planners and decision makers for better comprehensive land use planning. B. Review of Literature This section has literature related to the research study.

Different books, journal articles reports were investigated to conceptualize and explore knowledge gap in the study of land use change at the local context Land-use and land-cover change induced by both human activities and natural feedbacks have converted large proportion of the planet’s land surface (Shi, 2008). Land Use and Land Use Change Every parcel of land on the Earth’s surface is unique in the cover it possesses. Land use and land cover are distinct yet closely linked characteristics of the Earth’s surface. Land use is the manner in which human beings employ the land and its resources.

Examples of land use include agriculture, urban development, grazing, logging, and mining. In contrast, land cover describes the physical state of the land surface. Land cover categories include cropland, forests, wetlands, pasture, roads, and urban areas. The term land cover originally referred to the kind and state of vegetation, such as forest or grass cover, but it has broadened in subsequent usage to include human structures such as buildings or pavement and other aspects of the natural environment, such as soil type, biodiversity, and surface and groundwater (Meyer, 1995).

Land use affects land cover and changes in land cover affect land use. A change in either, however, is not necessarily the product of the other. Changes in land cover by land use do not necessarily imply a degradation of the land. However, many shifting land use patterns, driven by a variety of social causes, result in land cover changes that affect biodiversity, water and radiation budgets, trace gas emissions and other processes that, cumulatively, affect global climate and biosphere (Riebsame, Meyer, & Turner, 1994).

Land cover can be altered by forces other than anthropogenic. Natural events such as weather, flooding, fire, climate fluctuations, and ecosystem dynamics may also initiate modifications upon land cover. Globally, land cover today is altered principally by direct human use: by agriculture and livestock raising, forest harvesting and management, and urban and suburban construction and development. There are also incidental impacts on land cover from other human activities such as forests and lakes damaged by acid rain from fossil fuel combustion (Meyer, 1995).

Changes in land cover driven by land use can be categorized into two types: modification and conversion. Modification is a change of condition within a cover type; for example, unmanaged forest modified to a forest managed by selective cutting. Significant modifications of land cover can occur within these patterns of land cover change. Conversion is a change from one cover type to another, such as deforestation to create cropland or pasture.

Conversion land cover changes such as deforestation have been the focus of many global change research agendas (Riebsame, Meyer and Turner, 1994). Serote in 2004 stated that conversion of land on the other hand can be classified into irreversible and reversible conversion. It is reversible if the soil cover and landforms are not substantially changed and therefore present a variety of options for future reuse (for example croplands can be converted to pastures and reverted to croplands again as the need arises).

Irreversible conversion occurs when the original character of the land is changed to such a degree that the reversal to its former use or condition becomes very difficult if not impossible. Example of this is open pit mining and quarrying. The loss of rainforests throughout the tropical regions of the world as a result of deforestation for timber resources and conversion to agricultural lands has become a topic of global attention with the aid of widespread media coverage. Research specialists such as Skole and Tucker (1993), Skole et al. (1994), and Kummer and Turner (1994) perform extensive studies in an attempt to bring further attention to this situation by focusing on the social implications and the environmental degradation associated with tropical deforestation in the Amazon of South America and in Southeast Asia. Yet, with all the research, awareness, and attention of the world, this potentially devastating phenomenon continues. Modeling land use change In a research study made by Lim, Pijanowski and Engel in 2005, they employed a land use model called Land Transformation Model (LTM).

The LTM model is designed to forecast land use change over large regions. It relies on GIS, artificial neural network routines (ANNs), remote sensing and customized geospatial tools. The driving variables include a variety of social, political and environmental factors, such as distance to transportation, proximity to amenities (such as rivers, lakes, and recreational site), density of surrounding agriculture, exclusive zones, and population growth. Information derived from an historical analysis of land use change is used to conduct forecast studies.

The model is a desk top computer application, and it mainly follows four sequential steps: (1) processing/coding of data to create spatial layers of predictor variables; (2) applying spatial rules that relate predictor variables to land use transitions for each location in an area; the resultant layers contain input variables values in grid format; (3) integrating all input grids using one of the three techniques, including multi-criteria evaluation, ANNs, and logistic regression; and (4) temporally scaling the amount of transitions in the study area in order to create a time series of possible future land uses.

Detailed descriptions of the LTM can be found elsewhere (Pijanowski et al. , 2000) The LTM model has been applied and validated in a variety of locations around the world to help understand what factors are most important to land use changes and to simulate land use change in the past, present and future (Pijanowski et al. , 2000). It also offers the ability to link changes in land use to ecological process models, such as groundwater flow and solute transport (Boutt et al. , 2001) and forest cover change (Brown et al. , 2000). Urbanization and Land Use Change

At least two broad urbanization pathways lead to different impacts on rural landscapes. In the developed world, large-scale urban agglomerations and extended peri-urban settlements fragment the landscapes of such large areas that various ecosystem processes are threatened. Ecosystem fragmentation, however, in peri-urban areas may be offset by urban-led demands for conservation and recreational land uses (Sack, 1992). Urbanization affects land change elsewhere through the transformation of urban-rural linkages. Urbanization in the less-developed world outbids all other uses for land adjacent to the city, including prime croplands.

Cities attract a significant proportion of the rural population by way of permanent and circulatory migration, and the wages earned in the city are often remitted by migrants to rural homelands, in some cases transforming the use of croplands and creating ‘‘remittance landscapes’’. Perhaps most importantly, this urbanization changes ways of life ultimately E. F. Lambin et al. , (2001) associated with demographic transitions, increasing expectations about consumption, and potentially a weakened understanding of production–consumption relationships noted for the well-developed world.

Rapid land-use changes often coincide with the incorporation of a region into an expanding world economy (Lambin, et al. , 2001). Remote Sensing In the broadest sense, remote sensing is the measurement or acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by a recording device that is not in physical or intimate contact with the object. It is the utilization at a distance (as from aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, or ship) of any device for gathering information about the environment. The technique can make use of devices such as a camera, laser, radar, sonar, seismograph or a gravimeter.

Modern remote sensing normally includes digital processes but can be done as well with non-digital methods. While all astronomy could be considered remote sensing (in fact, extremely remote sensing) the term "remote sensing" is normally only applied to terrestrial observations. Examples of remote sensing are very numerous. For example: a. Topographic maps were often produced from stereographic pairs of aerial photographs. Trained personnel would then trace the shape of the land into maps. b.

Earthquakes are located (after the fact) by comparing seismograms taken at different locations; the relative intensity and precise timing yield information about the location and nature. c. Digital elevation maps can be produced by interferometric synthetic aperture radar, a process in which an aircraft, spacecraft or satellite passes over the target area while emitting a series of radar pulses. Combining the data from these pulses yields a detailed map containing information about ground cover and possibly elevation or movement on a scale of centimeters.

The data usually covers a many kilometers wide (Gupta & Parakash 1998). Profile of the City Calamba City is a first class city in the province of Laguna, Philippines. Situated only 54 kilometers south of Manila, about an hour by chartered bus, Calamba City is a popular tourist destination with its hot spring resorts. It also an important modern industrial center in CALABARZON region as shown by the larger number of industrial parks and business estates that are located in the city. According to 2006 census, it has a population of 360,281 inhabitants. CLUP, 2010-2015) It is reported that this city is among the fastest growing urban centers in the Region. Calamba city is famous for its historical tribute as the hometown of our national hero. According to the NAMRIA in 1999, residential sector takes up 48% of the total land area, while 44% is allotted for Industrial use. The commercial sector only consumes 3% of the total land area – the other 5% consist of other land uses. C. Objectives of the Study The general objective of this study is to determine the socio-economic and environmental impacts of land-use conversion at the local level.

Specifically, this study endeavors; 1) To map out the current land use situation of Calamba City using GIS (to see the historical land use situation of the said locality); 2) To identify both the positive and negative impacts of land-use conversion in six barangays of Calamba City; 3) To identify causes of land-use conversions and land use change; 4) To assess the existing policy and mitigation strategies to the impacts of land use conversion; and 5) To propose recommendations on comprehensive land use planning of Calamba City.

D. Date and Place of Study The survey and other data gathering method (Key informant interviews and focus group discussion) will be conducted from June, 2012 to August, 2012 in selected barangays in Calamba City. Analysis and interpretation of data will be done from September, 2012 to November 2012. The researcher aims to finish the study by January, 2013.


Secondary Maps of 1:50,000 scale (Topographic, Land Use/Land Cover, Political boundary) • Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) of Calamba City • Satellite Imagery (30 meters resolution Terralook ASTER image) • Geographic Information System (GIS) Software (ArcInfo Desktop) • Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver • Semi-structured questionnaires B. Methodology Secondary data collection Secondary data will be gathered primarily from the City of Calamba, Laguna to serve as baseline information for the study area.

These shall include the CLUP report of Calamba City, secondary baseline maps in digital and print format (Topographic, Land Use/Land Cover, Political boundary). Other pertinent information (demographic, economic) shall be likewise collected and consolidated from other government agencies (National Statistics Coordination Board, Department of Interior and Local Government etc. ). Primary data collection The freely downloadable 30 meters resolution satellite imagery will be requested from United State Geological Society (USGS) website (http://glovis. usgs. gov). This shall be utilized in the generation of p-to-date land use map of the study area. ArcInfo Desktop GIS software shall be utilized in the generation of the baseline maps, spatial analyses and land use classification. All GIS maps shall have Universal Transverse Mercator (UTM) North Zone 51 format projection and WGS1984 datum. Unsupervised image classification. An unsupervised image classification will be done for aster satellite imagery. This image classification will serve as the basis for the supervised classification. These classifications will be validated thru ground truthing and high-resolution satellite imagery of google earth.

Supervised classification. The training units or signatures of the different land uses will be prepared in ArcInfo Desktop by digitizing at least 100 polygons for each land uses. Supervised image classification will proceed using maximum likelihood method for the final landuse maps. Household survey, Key Informant Interview and Focus Group Discussions (FGD). Key Informant Interview (KII) will be conducted to selected LGU officials of the City of Calamba with emphasis on the issues and concerns related to land use, as well as the perceived socio-economic impacts of land use in their locality.

Similarly, a Focus Group Discussion (FGD) will be done to gather relevant information base on the consensus of randomly selected barangay officials and residents of the City of Calamba. A random household survey will also be conducted using semi-structured questionnaire to gather basic household demographic information, as well as knowledge and perception on the socio-economic impacts of land use change.


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Socio-Economic and Environmental Impacts of Land Use Change. (2017, Feb 07). Retrieved from

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