Land use Intensification in Rural Farming Systems: Components and Determinants

Document Type : Research Paper


Associate professor, Department of geography and rural planning, Faculty of Geographical Sciences and Planning, University of Isfahan, Isfahan, Iran.


Land use intensification refers to the increase of land productivity and yield through human activities. Despite the potential challenge of unsustainability, land use intensification is the main approach of de-veloping agriculture and meeting the increasing food demand. It also serves as a measure for the eval-uation of agricultural efficiency. This study is an attempt to evaluate and analyze the intensification of legume cultivation in Khorramdasht rural areas of Khomain County. The statistical sample of the study consisted of 183 stakeholders, and the data were gathered primarily via field work with a question-naire whose validity was confirmed formally and its reliability was statistically assessed with a pretest. Land use intensity, as the main variable, was quantitatively operationalized and measured based on a normalized weighted linear combination of the components, specialized cropping, proportioned mean farm area, productivity level, machinery coefficient and fallow period intensity. The relative weights were calculated through factor analysis followed by the normalization of the first component’s factor loadings. Despite the large area under legume cultivation, the results revealed that nearly 98 percent of the farms are intensified below the average level while only 2.2 percent are above it. The increment of land-use intensity is technically easier to achieve in systems that are currently at a low intensifica-tion levels, but low land-use intensities do not necessarily imply strong development and yield in-crease in the future. In this regard, the process of land use intensification has led to a marked diver-gence of the economic performance in the study area. At the same time, poor agricultural policies and management practices call for more attention and deliberate planning procedures in the future.


Main Subjects

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