Livelihood Impacts of Smallholder Rubber Plantations: Case Studies of Two Communities in Vientiane Province, Lao PDR
In Laos rubber plantation investment has increased significantly in recent years, supported by the Government. Farmers decide to cultivate rubber trees in order to generate greater income and diversify their agricultural activities. However, rubber planting also creates impacts on the livelihoods of farmers. This research aims to examine the impacts of rubber plantations on two communities in Vientiane Province. Utilising the sustainable livelihood framework, this research seeks to understand how the introduction of rubber plantations affect livelihood activities, the local land use system, and the environment in the case study communities. Key positive impacts include increased income and job opportunities. However, increased rubber planting reduces the availability of land for crops and livestock rearing and also creates some adverse environmental impacts. Overall, rubber production significantly modifies local agricultural production systems and resource use decision making in communities.