Studying the Dynamics of Shifting Cultivation in Kasi District of Lao PDR using Satellite Images and Socio-economic Data

Year: 2011-2012
Country: Lao PDR
Location within country: Kasi district

The objectives of this project were: 1) To detect shifting cultivation hotspots using MODIS burned area products, 2) To analyze the contribution of physical, biological and socioeconomic factors to shifting cultivation.
Shifting cultivation in Lao PDR is a common practice in upland involving more than 150,000 households, which is approximately 25% of the rural population.


As slash and burn is a common practice for land preparation for shifting cultivations, therefore, the detection of burned areas is very useful for identification and verification of shifting cultivation plots. Based on MODIS burned area products, annual burned areas from 2000 to 2010 were examined. Time series analysis of MODIS products was useful for identifying more frequently burned areas, which are shifting cultivation hot spots and a very good correlation was found when compared with field data. Overlaying shifting cultivation areas on landuse map showed that shrub lands and grass lands are the major land-used for shifting cultivation covering 50% and 40% of total shifting cultivation areas respectively. Besides, socio-economic factors such as presence of certain ethnic groups, accessibility and availability of arable land were identified as the major factors contributing to shifting cultivations.