Wild food collection and nutrition under commercial agriculture expansion in agriculture-forest landscapes

Rikke Brandt Broegaard, Laura Vang Rasmussen, Neil Dawson, Ole Mertz, Thoumthone Vongvisouk, Kenneth Grogan

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Wild food constitutes a substantial part of household food consumption around the world, but rapid land use changes influence the availability of wild foods, which has implications for smallholders' food and nutrient intake. With increasing commercial agriculture and biodiversity conservation efforts in forested tropical regions, many shifting cultivation systems are being intensified and their extent restricted. Studies examining the consequences of such pressures commonly overlook the diminishing role of wild food. Using a combination of collection diaries, participant observation, remote sensing, and interviews, we examined the role of agriculture-forest landscapes in the provision of wild food in rapidly transforming shifting cultivation communities in northern Laos. We found that wild food contributed less to human diets in areas where pressure on land from commercial agriculture and conservation efforts was more intense. Our results demonstrate that increasing pressure on land creates changes in the shifting cultivation landscape and people's use thereof with negative effects on the quality of nutrition, including protein deficiency, especially in communities adjacent to core conservation areas. Our study shows the importance of adopting a more nutrition-sensitive approach to the linkages between commercial agriculture and biodiversity conservation (and the policies that promote them), wild food provisioning, and food security.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)92–101
Number of pages10
JournalForest Policy and Economics
Early online date5 Jan 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Nutrition-sensitive landscape
  • Shifting cultivation
  • Cash crop expansion
  • Conservation policy
  • Diet
  • Asia

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