Environmental Management

, Volume 18, Issue 3, pp 391–399 | Cite as

Farmer decision making and spatial variables in northern Thailand

  • Jefferson Fox
  • Rebekah Kanter
  • Sanay Yarnasarn
  • Methi Ekasingh
  • Royce Jones


This research has two interrelated objectives. The first is to determine the extent to which a relationship exists between farmer characteristics and farming practices in three villages in northern Thailand. The second is to use standard statistical methods for incorporating spatial variables into the analysis and to assess the effects of these variables on farmer decision making. The data base includes information on the location and size of villages, roads, streams, and fields; a digital elevation model with information on elevation, slope, and aspect; and information keyed to individual fields on crops and cropping methods and the ethnicity, income, and religion of farmers. The map data (517 plots) were entered into a computerized geographic information systems (GIS). Results suggest several hypotheses about the relationships between land use and owner characteristics. More significantly, the study concludes that spatial analysis appears to be most useful when the dependent variable is either continuous or ordinal. The outlook is not quite as optimistic when the dependent variable is a nonordinal categorical variable. Before spatial analysis can be applied regularly to social science data, better computational tools need to be developed.

Key words

Farmer decision making Geographic information systems Spatial analysis Spatial autocorrelation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jefferson Fox
    • 1
  • Rebekah Kanter
    • 1
  • Sanay Yarnasarn
    • 2
  • Methi Ekasingh
    • 3
  • Royce Jones
    • 4
  1. 1.Program on EnvironmentEast-West CenterHonolulu
  2. 2.Department of GeographyChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  3. 3.Multiple Cropping CenterChiang Mai UniversityChiang MaiThailand
  4. 4.Geographic Decision Systems InternationalHonoluluHawaii

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