Fragmented landholding, productivity, and resilience management
The operation of a number of non-contiguous parcels of land as a single farming unit is known as land fragmentation. It is a widespread and persistent phenomenon and, at the same time, widely criticized by development agencies. Available evidence clearly suggests that the unqualified faith in the merit of consolidation is not justified; fragmentation may have some rationale. This paper substantiates the latter position with a case study of an irrigated agricultural system. Thereafter, it locates fragmentation within the broader context and analyses its role within a hierarchy of phenomena in the linked social and ecological local system. For this analysis an evolutionary game model is used. It is shown that fragmentation increases the resilience of the system of cooperation. The study concludes by suggesting an appropriate strategy for resilience management.
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