Yann le Polain de Waroux

Yann le Polain de Waroux

Land use/cover change, development, and globalization

Assistant Professor in the Department of Geography and Institute for the Study of International Development

Office: Burnside Hall 311
Tel.: (514) 398-4960
Fax.: (514) 398-7437
Personal website
yann.lepolaindewaroux [at] mcgill.ca (E-mail)
Google Scholar Profile 


Academic and professional background


Research interests

My research examines the role of people’s livelihood and land use choices as a nexus between social and environmental, and global and local dynamics in rural areas of the Global South. In particular, I am interested in the relationship between globalization, human and capital mobility and land-use change, and its implications for development and environmental sustainability; and in the role of learning and adaptation processes in strengthening the resilience of rural communities in the face of environmental change. I use an empirical approach integrating qualitative and quantitative methods to explore these questions. My main areas of interest have been North Africa — specifically woodlands of Southern Morocco — and the Gran Chaco ecoregion of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. My current work investigates the transformation of land use around agricultural commodity frontiers, and the role of structural and agent-level factors in their expansion.


Current projects

  • Studying the factors behind the expansion of commodity production in South American woodlands, with focus on the Gran Chaco region
  • Examining spillovers and displacement of land use
  • Investigating transformations of land use and livelihoods around agricultural frontiers

Some recent publications

le Polain de Waroux, Y., Baumann, M., Gasparri, N.I., Gavier-Pizarro, G., Godar, J., Kuemmerle, T., Müller, R., Vázquez, F., Volante, J.N. & Meyfroidt, P. (in press) Rents, actors, and the expansion of commodity frontiers in the Gran Chaco. Annals of the Association of American Geographers.

le Polain de Waroux, Y., Garrett, R. D., Graesser, J., Nolte, C., White, C., & Lambin, E. F. (2017). The restructuring of South American soy and beef production and trade under changing environmental regulations. World Development. Available online.

le Polain de Waroux, Y., Garrett, R., Heilmayr, R., & Lambin, E.F. (2016). Land use policies and corporate investments in agriculture in the Gran Chaco and Chiquitano. Proceedings of the National Academy of Science 113(15): 4021-4026.