Featured East-West Center Research Projects

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Changes in Rice Farming in Mainland Southeast Asia

Ongoing changes in the global economy as well as environmental changes mean that both the incentives for growing rice and the ways in which rice is produced will require novel socioeconomic, environmental, and technological adaptations. To help address these challenges, East-West Center researchers are conducting a collaborative study on changes in rice farming in mainland Southeast Asia. Researchers will examine one of the most intriguing agricultural-development questions in the region—how have fewer, older farmers with fewer agricultural laborers and smaller farms managed to more than double rice production over the past 20 years?

 

Pacific RISA (Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments) Program

The East-West Center’s Pacific RISA program helps communities in Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands understand, plan for, and respond to the impacts of climate variability and change. The Pacific RISA team led writing of the chapter on Hawai‘i and the US-Affiliated Pacific Islands in Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment. Released in November 2018, this is the most significant US report to assess the effects of climate change on the US economy and communities. Strained freshwater supplies, damaged and compromised coastal infrastructure, coral reef death, and greater stresses on native biodiversity and species are major concerns and challenges detailed in the Hawai‘i-Pacific Islands chapter of the report.

 

 

National Transfer Accounts (NTA): Assessing the Economic Impact of Population Change

Active in more than 80 countries, the NTA project provides estimates of income, consumption, saving, and public and private transfers for specific age groups, shedding light on the economic impact of population change and adding an important dimension to estimates of Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and other measures of national economies.

 

HIV Policy Analysis, Research, and Training

Center researchers work with national partners throughout Asia and with colleagues from regional and international agencies to improve understanding of national HIV epidemics and help policymakers achieve the maximum impact in countering epidemics with the limited available resources.

 

 

Rise of China and the Strategic Environment in Northeast Asia

Research explores Chinese foreign policy, the North Korea nuclear weapons crisis, and China's relations with Japan and Taiwan. One focus is on tensions arising from disputed claims in the South China Sea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mapping Forest Dynamics after 25 Years of Community Management in the Middle Hills of Nepal

Multi-disciplinary research is analyzing forest transitions and associated socioeconomic variables in Nepal, where an innovative system of community forest management has received worldwide recognition but little documentation.

 

Exposure to Air Polution and Health Effects in Urban Vietnam

The East-West Center has initiated a project to promote air quality management in the future smart cities of Vietnam. The goal is to create a multi-disciplinary action-research network.

 

 

 


Rubber Plantations Replace Forests in Southeast Asia

Over the past 50 years, the mountainous region of mainland Southeast Asia has witnessed a dramatic expansion of commercialized agriculture. The emphasis has been on tree-based cash crops and, in particular, on rubber.
Much of this expansion has come at the expense of the region’s native forests.

In Rubber Has Replaced Natural Forests in Southeast Asia, Kaspar Hurni and Jefferson Fox chart the expansion of rubber production in Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam, Thailand, Shan State in Myanmar, and Xishuangbanna refecture in China. By 2014, rubber accounted for 8 percent of the total land cover in an area twice the size of France. Seventy percent of this expansion came at the espense of natural forests.

In Opium, Rubber, and a Land Grab on Myanmar's Border with China, Kevin Woods notes that the Myanmar government has allocated large tracts of land to private businesses—often with ties to the military or to favored local armed groups. These "land grabs"—ostensibly to grow rubber—have often been financed in part by the Chinese government under the guise of a crop substitution program to reduce the production of opium poppies. In the process, conflict between ethnic-based armed rebel groups and the national military has only increased.

In a third issue of the East-West Wire, Jefferson Fox and his colleagues describe two very different ways in which rubber production has expanded throughout the region In China, Thailand, and Vietnam, many local farmers have started growing rubber trees, and some have become wealthy. In Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, by contrast, traditional farmers are being squeezed out by large companies. Government policies and programs appear to make all the difference in who benefits from expanded rubber production and who does not.

 

North Pacific Arctic Conference

The annual North Pacific Arctic Conference brings together an international group from the public and private sectors and civil society for discussions around a broad theme. Papers presented at these gatherings are published in a series of proceedings on The Arctic in World Affairs.

 

 

* All Current Research Projects

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