Dr. Rheyna Laney

Associate Professor

Areas of Specialization

  • Cultural and Political Ecology
  • Agricultural Change and Development
  • Land Use and Land Cover Change
  • Remote Sensing
  • Africa

Educational Background

  • Ph.D.—Geography, Clark University, 1999
  • M.A.— Geography, Clark University, 1995
  • B.A.— Environmental Science, University of California at Berkeley, 1986


Recent Publications

    Laney, R. 2004. A process-led approach to modeling land-change in agricultural landscapes: A case study from Madagascar. Special issue: From pattern to process: Landscape Fragmentation and the analysis of land use/land cover change - Edited by D.K. Munroe, J. Southworth and H. Nagendra Agricultural Ecosystems and Environment 101(2-3): 135-153.

    Eastman, J. R. and R. Laney. 2002. Soft Classifiers for Sub-Pixel Evaluation: A Critical Evaluation. Photogrammetric Engineering and Remote Sensing 68(11):1149-1154.

    Laney, R. 2002. Disaggregating Induced Intensification for Land Change Analysis: A case study from Madagascar. Annals of theAssociation of American Geographers 92(4):702-726.

Recent Papers

    Laney, R. 2004. Reviving the Forgotten Agrarian Question in Andapa, Madagascar. Philadelphia: Association of American, Geographers, April 2004

    Laney, R. 2003. Farmer profiling: Identifying forces and factors driving agricultural change in Madagascar 's vulnerable landscapes. New Orleans: Association of American Geographers, March 2003

    Laney, R. 2001. Scale Blindness and Misleading Debates In Agricultural Change Theory. New York : Association of American Geographers, February 2001.

    Laney, R. 2000. The “Fit” with African Land Use Patterns: Household surveys, multi-spectral image classification, spatial aggregation of land use/cover classes, and their translation with LCCS. Invited paper, Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, Focus 1 Workshop: Meeting in the Middle, October 16-21, 2000, Italy.

    Laney, R. 2000. Panel Presentation: "Reflections on Cultural/Political Ecology II: Which Direction Now?" Pittsburgh: Association of American Geographers, April 2000.

    Laney, R. 2000. Using Remotely Sensed Data in Agricultural Change Research: A Critical Assessment. Pittsburgh: Association of American Geographers, April 2000.

In My Own Words

    My research focuses on agriculture and the environment in Africa, and on land-use and land-cover change. For the last 8 years, I have worked in the Andapa Region of Madagascar, where two large nature reserves are protecting tropical forests rich in biodiversity from deforestation. These reserves are causing enormous land pressure in surrounding communities. Populations are rising, and since the reserves have cut off their frontier, farmers are forced to intensify their production.

    In this context, I have been investigating whether farmers have been able to find environmentally positive ways to intensify their agriculture, or whether they have been having difficulties, and are degrading their landscapes. I then use remotely sensed imagery to explore the specific land-cover changes that are associated with these different trajectories of agricultural change.

    More recently, I have been exploring market-crop production in this region. The Andapa Region has been involved in coffee and vanilla production for over 75 years. Yet farmers continue to focus principally on their subsistence production. This is a puzzle for economists, who assume that farmers will seek to maximize profits from the market. My research explores the cultural and social reasons why farmers are choosing not to participate in the market.

    Future research will likely take me to the Sacramento Delta. I will explore how agricultural land use interfaces with conservation efforts in this very important stopover on the Pacific Flyway.