Land, Vol. 12, Pages 1104: Land Use Transition and Its Driving Mechanism of “Human–Elephant” Conflicts Zone in Yunnan, China

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Land, Vol. 12, Pages 1104: Land Use Transition and Its Driving Mechanism of “Human–Elephant” Conflicts Zone in Yunnan, China

Land doi: 10.3390/land12051104

Authors:
Yuan Wang
Zhiyu Liu
Yanfang Wen
Yahui Wang

In recent years, the issue of “human–elephant” conflict in the south of the Yunnan Province, China has been escalating and poses a severe threat to the livelihoods of local residents. To address this problem, this study utilized survey data from farmers in Pu’er City and villages in Xishuangbanna Prefecture, Yunnan Province. By employing land input–output analysis and spatial analysis methods, this study aims to uncover the land use transition in the research area over the past three decades and identify the driving mechanism behind this transition. The findings of this research can provide valuable guidance for reducing regional conflicts between humans and wild animals, as well as improving the livelihoods of farmers. Research indicates that farmers in the study area have significantly transformed their land use practices. The per capita arable land area has increased, and traditional grain crops are being replaced with economically profitable crops such as rubber. Rubber is the predominant crop in the conflict-prone “human–elephant” core region, while other economic crops dominate the peripheral region. The overall land use index has risen, with a greater diversity and stability in land use structure. However, the input–output efficiency of cultivated land in the “human–elephant” core region remains low, leading to a lower comprehensive land use index than that of the peripheral region. The land use transition is influenced by several factors, including socio-economic development, changes in crop comparative benefits, and the activities of wild Asian elephants. Frequent crop destruction by elephants, which results in damage to farmers’ livelihoods, is the primary cause of land use changes in “human–elephant” conflict areas. Ultimately, this conflict stems from the competition for regional land resources between humans and elephants, as humans dominate production space while elephants dominate ecological space. Local governments should optimize the layout of regional production and ecological spaces to alleviate these conflicts while also regulating circulation markets and improving farmers’ land output levels.

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