Land conversion from agricultural to non-agricultural use has happened due to human need for land related to development, residential and other secondary and tertiary uses.
Land availability, however, cannot increase, hence causing conflict of interests between agricultural and non-agricultural uses, which eventually won by the non-agricultural use. Change in land use that triggers impacts for abiotic, biotic as well as socio-economic and cultural environments, therefore, needs to be reviewed, particularly for Magelang area in Central Java.
Such statement was made by Dra. Setiowati, MSi, lecturer from National Land Affairs Institute during her open doctoral exam at Faculty of Geography UGM. With promoter, Prof. Dr. Suratman, M.Sc, and co-promoter, Prof. Dr. Hadi Sabari Yunus, M.A and Dr. Ir. Dja'far Shiddieq, M.Sc, she defended her dissertation titled Change in Land Use from Agricultural to Non-agricultural Land in Magelang Regency, Spatial-Ecological Approach.
Researching six sub-districts of Mungkid (16 villages), Mertoyudan with 20 villages, Secang with 13 villages, Dukun with 14 villages, Bandongan with 14 villages and Salam with 12 villages, Setiowati’s research showed types of land use that experience conversion to buildings were irrigation paddy fields, rainwater catchment fields, dry fields, mixed plantations, meadows and shrubs. Irrigation fields are 412.65 ha (66.91 %), rainwater catchment fields 47.07 ha (7.54 %), dry fields 24.00 ha (3.84 %), mixed plantations 114.47 ha (18.34 %) and meadows and shrubs 21.96 ha (3.36 %).
Impacts of land conversion in qualitative terms according to people perception, said Setiowati, have impacted the decrease in soil fertility, groundwater quantity, irrigation water quality, function of irrigation, agricultural and non-agricultural job opportunities, and local cultures. These also impact erosion, flood, puddles, noise, dust level, waste, public facilities, development as well as profession change from agricultural to non-agricultural.
"Following this policy implication, the local government of Magelang should re-arrange spatial use to secure irrigation rice fields as well as increasing incentives for their owners to maintain theirs and disincentives for those that have changed land allotments,” she said.