Dynamics of Village Settlement in a Frontier Region: Nang Rong, Thailand

Barbara Entwisle, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Jeffrey Edmeades, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Ronald R. Rindfuss, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Stephen J. Walsh, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

Patterns of village settlement affect land use, but land use and the potential for change also affectsettlement patterns. This paper uses data from a village survey together with spatially referenced data about topography, hydrography, roads, and villages to explore this dynamic relationship over the past fifty years in Nang Rong, Thailand. In 1950, Nang Rong was a frontier. Between 1950 and 2000, the number of villages quadrupled through a process of new settlement and administrative division. The paper considers topography, proximity to water sources, proximity to the main highway, and proximity to other villages as factors affecting the establishment and siting of villages. Initially, forest was converted to paddy rice in the lowlands. Later, because of changed import regulations in Europe, cassava cultivation became profitable, and land was converted to cultivation in the uplands. We will explore the possibility that patterns of village settlement changed after this exogenous shock.

Presented in Session 36: Human Impacts on the Environment