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Publication: “The Politics of Uneven Smallholder Cacao Expansion: A Critical Physical Geography of Agricultural Transformation in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia”


Dr. Lisa C. Kelley of the UH Mānoa Department of Geography and Environment has been published in Geoforum. You can read the article on her website (PDF format).

Dr. Lisa C. Kelley

Dr. Kelley is a human-environment geographer and has training in the fields of political ecology, critical agrarian studies, and remote sensing. You can read more about her work on her website.

Paper Abstract

This article reconstructs and explains variability in pathways of smallholder cacao expansion and land use and cover change (LUCC) over the past four decades in Southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia. I first draw on approaches from remote sensing (RS) to reconstruct cacao expansion in two top-producing districts (1972–2014), highlighting the variegated environment changes shaped by smallholder cacao plantings, both inside and outside forested lands. I then integrate these data with theories and methods from political ecology (PE) and critical physical geography (CPG) to document the uneven politics of land and capital access mediating this variability. Using these data, I argue that variability in crop expansion and LUCC should not be considered as an exception but as the norm; integral to any generalizable explanation of LUCC. I also show how a focus on variability can not only supplement but also shift dominant accounts of LUCC.