Definition of Land Conversion

Joko Warino S.P M.Si

Definition of Land Conversion

Do you know the definition of Land Conversion? One important aspect of human life is land, as a significant portion of human livelihood depends on it.

Surely, you have heard the term related to land, namely land conversion. In this opportunity, we will discuss the definition of land conversion. Let’s delve into the explanation below!

Definition of Soil or Land Soil

holds various meanings in our daily lives; thus, its usage requires defining boundaries to understand the context in which the term “soil” is employed.

Soil serves as a dwelling place for a significant portion of humanity, as well as a source of livelihood for those engaged in agricultural or plantation activities. Ultimately, soil also becomes the final resting place for humans.

Agricultural land encompasses the grounds used for agricultural endeavors, encompassing both rice paddies and garden plots, as well as all plantation areas, fishponds for aquaculture, pastures for animal husbandry, overgrown lands previously used for cultivation, and forests serving as livelihood sources for eligible parties.

Land bears essential significance for stakeholders who utilize it. The function of land for communities includes being a residential area and a source of livelihood.

For farmers, land constitutes the source of food production and sustenance. In contrast, for private entities, land becomes an asset aimed at capital accumulation.

For the government, land represents the sovereignty of a nation and contributes to the welfare of its citizens. Numerous interrelated interests arise from land usage, resulting in overlapping interests among stakeholders-farmers, private entities, and the government-in utilizing land.

Definition of Land Conversion or Land Use Change

Definition of Land Conversion or Land Use Change

Conversion refers to a change from one system of knowledge to another; or a change in ownership of an object, land, and so on; or a change from one form (appearance, and so on) to another form. Meanwhile, “lahan” (land) means open land or cultivated land.

Land use change, commonly referred to as land conversion, is the alteration of the function of a portion or the entirety of a land area from its original intended function (as planned) to a different function that results in negative impacts (issues) on the environment and the potential of that land itself.

Land use conversion also has another definition, namely the change for a different usage due to factors that commonly arise, such as the increasing population’s need to fulfill their growing demands for a better quality of life.

Utomo et al. (1992) define land use conversion or commonly referred to as land conversion as the alteration of the function of a portion or the entirety of a land area from its original intended function (as planned) to a different function that brings about problems or negative impacts on the environment and the potential of that land itself.

Land use conversion is generally driven by other factors, such as the increasing needs of a growing population and the demand for a better quality of life, representing a change or adjustment in the form of land use allocation.

According to Kustiawan (1997), land conversion involves the change or mutation of land that broadly concerns altering the allocation of land resources from one use to another.

According to Agus (2004), the conversion of paddy fields is a deliberate human-induced (anthropogenic) process, rather than a natural one.

According to Irawan (2005), the conversion of agricultural land primarily occurs due to competition in the utilization of agricultural land versus non-agricultural uses.

Meanwhile, the competition in land utilization arises due to three economic and social phenomena:

  1. Limited land resources.
  2. Population growth.
  3. Economic growth.

Irawan (2005) also argues that land conversion generally occurs more frequently in paddy fields and less frequently in dry lands due to the influence of three factors:

  1. Non-agricultural development activities such as housing complexes, industrial areas, shopping centers, and offices are easier to establish on flat paddy fields compared to dry lands.
  2. Past development efforts focused on increasing rice production, resulting in better economic infrastructure availability in paddy field areas than in dry land areas.
  3. Paddy field areas are generally closer to consumer areas or urban areas, which tend to have higher population density compared to dry land areas, which are predominantly located in hilly and mountainous regions.

Based on the above description, it can be concluded that land conversion involves changing the land use from its original purpose, for example, converting agricultural land into residential areas, converting forests into agricultural or plantation land, and so on.


Land holds numerous benefits for humans. Apart from serving as a foundation for habitation, it also functions as agricultural land to meet food needs.

Land conversion often occurs in paddy fields due to their flatter terrain compared to dry lands. Economic infrastructure is more accessible in paddy field areas, and these areas are generally closer to consumer or urban regions.

In conclusion, this comprehensive explanation provides an understanding of land conversion. May this article be beneficial to all readers.



Joko Warino S.P M.Si

Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Joko Warino, a lecturer at one of the universities in Indonesia (Faculty of Agriculture and Animal Husbandry, UIN Suska Riau Indonesia). My field of expertise is soil science.

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