Studies on designing sustainable development with local resources in rural areas of Laos

Fallows have been converted to teak plantation.
Children step out to catch coarse fish.
People cast a net in streams of Mekong.
Cattles are fed rice-straw after harvest.
Rainy days let a farmer seed upland rice to burned fields.

Lao Peoples’ Democratic Republic; Laos, is the inland country located in the center of Indochina Peninsula. The population is approximately 6 million, and they live in 230,000 km2 that is comparable size of Honshu Island in Japan. Rural landscapes are seen all over the country, except small urbanized areas, therefore, unregulated land-use change is a big issue when they set out stabilized land-use in whole country. Laos has diverse bio-resources in mountainous lands, also unique knowledge, attracting global attention, to utilize them traditionally. Various land-use policies have been implementing with swidden agriculture regulation, however, they lack in constancy and any clear designing. And after free-market economy since 1986, international market has influence on land-use, in the shape of emergence of foreign companies to rural areas. Expansion of cash crops and appropriation of agricultural lands by those companies run counter to sustainable utilization of local resources.
Upon that, we are trying to find driving forces of land-use changes, to design the framework to prevent unregulated land-use changes, and to progress rural developments with the effective use of local resources through field work in Champasack Province, southern Laos.

京都大学大学院 地球環境学堂 地域資源計画論研究室