This project examines the LCLUC effects of rapid, dynamic, and regional population changes with the arrival of 1 million refugees to Uganda since 2015, ninety-four thousand of whom arrived in the first half of 2022. Uganda has the fastest expansion of cropland in East Africa with an estimated 31400 km2 of new cropland since 1998 (0.4% per year). Refugee farming directly contributes to this cropland expansion thanks to Uganda’s “self-reliance” approach to supporting refugee food security and livelihoods. Nonetheless, refugees remain dependent on food aid to meet nutritional needs, some of which is locally produced, and cash transfers, which can be used to buy locally produced food. It is through aid and market purchasing power that refugees indirectly affect regional production of crop and regional LCLUC hotspot dynamics. This project will quantify the direct (farming) and indirect (via food aid and market purchases) impacts of Uganda’s refugee rural refugee population on crop LCLUC hotspot dynamics through three objectives: (1) Map changes in crop area and type in refugee-hosting districts with multi-sensor satellite time series analysis and transfer learning. (2) Measure changes in refugee crop area and type and identify drivers of cropland dynamics through interviews and participatory mapping. (3) Model and estimate causal effects of refugee population and food aid on cropland dynamics. The results of this project will support new understandings of how agricultural LCLUC hotspots form, evolve, and respond to socioeconomic conditions, and build new knowledge around how refugee farming decisions are influenced by aid and market prices, and directly support place-based information on refugee self-sufficiency that is called for in Uganda’s Refugee Response Plan and the 2018 Global Compact on Refugees.
Project Research Area:
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