The most prosperous country in the Mekong region, Thailand also has the longest-standing land policy and practices, including an uninterrupted tradition of private land ownership. The Land Code Promulgating Act was issued in 1954 and was most recently amended in 2008. This legal framework has remained essentially stable through a succession of varying political regimes, while the status of land has changed dramatically. In 1961, Thailand had 53% forest cover; by 2006, that had shrunk to 25%. Agricultural land expanded rapidly through forest clearance, then decreased through conversion to urban or commercial uses. In recent years, agricultural land has recovered, and now 43% of the country’s total area is used for farming. Increased population, the liberalization of land markets, and the growth of agribusinesses are among the factors affecting land ownership; there is a growing number of landless or land-poor farmers.

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Source of the narrative

Disclaimer: The data displayed on the Land Portal is provided by third parts indicated as the data source or as the data provider. The Land Portal team is constantly working to ensure the highest possible standard of data quality and accuracy, yet the data is by its nature approximate and will contain some inaccuracies. The data may contain errors introduced by the data provider(s) and/or by the Land Portal team. In addition, this page allows you to compare data from different sources, but not all indicators are necessarily statistically comparable. The Land Portal Foundation (A) expressly disclaims the accuracy, adequacy, or completeness of any data and (B) shall not be liable for any errors, omissions or other defects in, delays or interruptions in such data, or for any actions taken in reliance thereon. Neither the Land Portal Foundation nor any of its data providers will be liable for any damages relating to your use of the data provided herein.


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Land Governance Assessment Framework (LGAF)

  • Please, select year and panels to show the info.
  • Very Good Practice
  • Good Practice
  • Weak Practice
  • Very Weak Practice
  • Missing Value

Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure

Legend: National laws adoption of the VGGT principle
  • Fully adopt
  • Partially adopt
  • Not adopted
  • Missing Value

Note: The Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries, and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (The VGGTs) were endorsed by the Committee on World Food Security in 2012.

The "VGGT indicators" dataset has been created by Nicholas K. Tagliarino, PhD Candidate at the University of Groningen. The indicators of this dataset assess national laws against Section 16 of the VGGT standards on expropriation, compensation, and resettlement.

Each indicator relates to a principle established in the VGGTs.

Answering the questions posed by these indicators entails analyzing a broad range of national-level laws, including national constitutions, land acquisition acts, land acts, community land acts, agricultural land acts, land use regulations, and some court decisions.


Latest News

Hundreds protest in Bangkok urging junta to respect land rights

By: Cod Satrusayang
Date: October 3rd 2016
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation

Hundreds of protesters took to the streets of the Thai capital on Monday calling on the junta to address land rights and housing needs in what police and organizers said was one of the biggest demonstrations since the May 2014 coup.

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Latest Events

Enhancing Open Access to Knowledge, Information & Data in the Mekong: Open Data Festival and Regional Capacity-building Workshop

Sunday, February 26, 2017 to Tuesday, February 28, 2017


Best Western Green Hill Yangon

Over the last 30 years, the nation states in the Mekong region have taken steps to reform their land policy to facilitate the efforts to end poverty, create wealth and grow their economies. To do this most effectively in this modern age requires the leveraging of technical innovations and data.


Recognition of Customary Tenure in the Mekong Region: a Dialogue

Monday, February 13, 2017 to Friday, February 24, 2017
Natalia Scurrah
Terry Parnell

From 13-24 February 2017, the Mekong Region Land Governance (MRLG) project and the Land Portal will co-facilitate an online dialogue on the Recognition of Customary Tenure in the Mekong Region.





Displaying 1 - 6 of 113

Land Registration and Titling from an Economist's Perspective: a Case Study in Rural Thailand

The establishment or upgrading of cadastres and land registration systems is viewed by many as an essential infrastructure investment to be considered by less developed countries. Nevertheless, while many will agree that cadastres and land registration are useful, a decision to actually invest in establishing or expanding these activities will be easier to undertake if it is demonstrated that the resulting benefits are higher than those of other public investments. The purpose of this paper, therefore, is to report the results of a recent study undertaken in rural Thailand.

Resource information

December 1987

Land tenure and property rights: theory and implications for development policy

This article explores the nature of property rights systems, their evolution, and their effect on resource allocation. It is argued that certain institutional arrangements for land rights have evolved in order to reduce uncertainty and increase efficiency in credit as well as in land markets. Of particular relevance to developing countries, the article emphasizes the contribution of public sector infrastructure to effective land rights systems.

Resource information

December 1991

Shifting Cultivation in Thailand: Its Current Situation and Dynamics in the Context of Highland Development

ABSTRACTED FROM IIED WEBSITE INTRODUCTION: One of the outputs of a research project considering shifting cultivation in Thailand, Lao PDR and Vietnam. It considers the dynamics of shifting cultivation and alternative land use systems in the context of highland development in Thailand, gathered in order to provide up-to-date information to policymakers. The study includes examination of national policies relating to highland areas and the impacts of such policies on local communities and land use patterns.

Resource information

December 1994

Internal and external discourse of communality, tradition and environment: Minority claims on forest in the northern hills of Thailand

ABSTRACTED FROM THE INTRODUCTION: This paper addresses the question of land rights and forest conservation for those on the periphery, i.e. the minority hill-dwelling population, specifically, the Karen. Over the past century, the hill-dwelling Karen in Thailand have transformed their subsistence agriculture from that based primarily on swidden cultivation in secondary forests on the lower hill slopes towards wet-rice cultivation in irrigated paddy fields. In either case, the Karen are in a no-win situation.

Resource information

December 1997

Genealogies of the Political Forest and Customary Rights in Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand

ABSTRACTED FROM INTRODUCTION: How have national and state governments the world over come to “own” huge expanses of territory under the rubric of “national forest,” “national parks”, or “wastelands”? The two contradictory statements in the above epigraph illustrate that not all colonial administrators agreed that forests should be taken away from local people and “protected” by the state. The assumption of state authority over forests is based on a relatively recent convergence of historical circumstances.

Resource information

December 2001

In the Eyes of the State: Negotiating a ‘‘Rights-Based Approach’’ to Forest Conservation in Thailand

Recent debates about governance, poverty and environmental sustainability have emphasized a ‘‘rights-based’’ approach, in which equitable development is strongly associated with individual and communal rights. This paper reviews this approach and explores its practical application to Thailand’s ‘‘Community Forestry Bill,’’ which seeks to establish communal rights of access and conservation in forest reserve areas.

Resource information

December 2002