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Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Journal of Land Use Science

For a Special Issue on
Agrarian Change in the Mekong Region: Pathways towards Sustainable Land Systems

Manuscript deadline
01 February 2022

Cover image - Journal of Land Use Science

Special Issue Editor(s)

Albrecht Ehrensperger, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern
[email protected]

Jean-Christophe Diepart, Gembloux Agro-Bio Tech, University of Liège, Belgium
[email protected]

Anh-Thu Nguyen, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern, Laos Office, Vientiane
[email protected]

Cornelia Hett, Centre for Development and Environment, University of Bern
[email protected]

Submit an ArticleVisit JournalArticles

Agrarian Change in the Mekong Region: Pathways towards Sustainable Land Systems


The Mekong region is undergoing fast-paced land use changes due to profound agrarian transformations, whose drivers include resource commodification, integration into regional and global trade, urbanization, and dietary changes. A rich body of literature suggests that this transformation has had significant socially unjust and environmentally unsustainable implications and that it is characterized by complex interdependencies between causes and effects, with no simple solutions.

Pathways towards sustainable land systems are therefore urgently needed. Novel approaches are emerging but often neglected in descriptive-analytical research. This Article Collection calls for transformational research that proposes pathways to foster sustainability in agricultural landscapes. It takes into account three dimensions: (1) Agricultural commercialization and commoditization, (2) Recognition, formalization and security of customary tenure in forest landscapes, and (3) Co-creation of agricultural landscapes with positive environmental impacts (see below). Each dimension will be addressed in a separate section, which will include:

  • One synthesis article giving an overview of the topic, based on a survey of scientific and grey literature. The synthesis papers will be authored by the Article Collection’s guest editors.
  • A series of analytical case studies in one or several countries of the region (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam).

The Article Collection is part of a broader effort to avail scientific evidence for policy and practice: Based on the synthesis articles and analytical case studies the guest editors and interested authors will produce a series of documents targeting the needs of stakeholders in policy and practice. This effort will be undertaken within the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation.

Call for contribution of analytical case studies

We are calling for contributions that present innovative and promising pathways, and that reflect on their implications for policy and practice in one or several countries of the Mekong Region. We are looking for articles presenting sustainability innovations for the agrarian transformation along one of the following thematic dimensions:

  • Agricultural commercialization and commoditization. In the Mekong region, increasing reliance on a narrowing group of agricultural commodities has created both benefits and challenges for smallholder farmers and the environment. In this context, articles may examine the footprints of particular agricultural commodities and the political-economic settings that shape their impacts. They should propose pathways towards mitigating these impacts and optimizing co-benefits for rural development and poverty reduction.
  • Recognition, formalization and security of customary tenure in forest landscapes. The agrarian transformation has altered forest areas managed under customary tenure and affected access of local communities to natural resources. Articles may examine the evolution of the legal and institutional frameworks that regulate the recognition and formalization of customary tenure and presents novel ways through which communities can claim and enjoy sustained rights to land and forest resources.
  • Co-creating agricultural landscapes with positive environmental impacts. We are interested in articles that explore ways of achieving environmentally sustainable farming landscapes by testing and scaling up new solutions in the Mekong Region. These solutions may include no-deforestation commitments, biodiversity-based farming, or approaches combining agricultural goods and environmental services into baskets for investment mechanisms (landscape initiatives, impact investment schemes, etc.).

Gender as transversal topic

The agrarian change has transformed gender relations and repositioned the roles of men and women in the livelihoods of rural families across the Mekong Region. Women are now endorsing responsibilities in domains where men usually have a central role (contract farming, mobilizing against land dispossession, testing and scaling sustainable land management innovation, etc.). We encourage authors to examine the gender-differentiated dynamics and outcomes of new initiatives and approaches.

Special requirements for your article submission

This Article Collection aims for inclusive representation of authors. We highly encourage contributions that include authors from Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, or Cambodia, and female authors. To support science-policy dialogue and engagement of non-scientific audiences, we request that contributions include a section entitled “Options for policy and practice” (max. 150 words).

Submission Instructions

The Journal of Land Use Science (JLUS) will be fully open access and online-only from January 2022 onwards. The JLUS then also allows the publication of a themed group of articles as a ‘Collection’. Such a Collection will have its own table of contents page with promotional and introductory material. Readers can access the Collection through a permanent link located within the ‘Browse this journal’ menu. Themed articles can be immediately published upon acceptance and be grouped into the Collection.   All manuscripts should be submitted at www.tandfonline.com/toc/tlus20/current via the submission button:

  • Chose “Research Article” as article type
  • Chose “yes” for the question “Are you submitting your paper for a specific special issue? (This is typically in response to a Call For Papers, Editor request, or direct invitation)”
  • Specify the following Special Issue title: Agrarian Change Mekong

Instructions for AuthorsSubmit an Article