The Mekong Land Research Forum seeks to bring research and policy a bit closer together. It does this in part by making the research more accessible and in part by helping to distill the key messages and points of debate so that information overload does not overwhelm policy makers and other advocates for progressive policy reform.

The Mekong Land Research Forum online site was developed in 2015 by a team at the University of Sydney, as part of an exercise carried out with the Mekong Region Land Governance program. This exercise also included the writing of country papers on the political economy of land governance in CambodiaLaosMyanmarVietnam, and one Regional overview paper. The Regional Centre for Social Science and Sustainable Development at Chiang Mai University manages the resource as part of the Mekong Land Research Forum. Further information on the Forum is available here. An application form to join our research network can be found here.

Mekong Land Research Forum Resources

Displaying 1 - 10 of 327
Journal Articles & Books
December 2016

The scholarly debate around 'global land grabbing' is advancing theoretically, methodologically and empirically. This study contributes to these ongoing efforts by investigating a set of 'small-scale land acquisitions' in the context of a recent boom in banana plantation investments in Luang Namtha Province, Laos. In relation to the actors, scales and processes involved, the banana acquisitions differ from the state-granted large-scale land acquisitions dominating the literature on 'land grabbing' in Laos.

Reports & Research
December 2016
Cambodia

The objective of this background paper is to provide a succinct description of the land tenure situation in Cambodia and, on that basis, discuss the needs smallholder farmers have for land, projected up to the year 2030.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2016

Land-titling programs, land and forest allocation programs, and projects on state-allocated land for development and investment in Laos have been key drivers of change in land tenure. These have triggered major shifts in land use rights, from customary, to temporary, and then to permanent land use rights. This article explores how government programs to grant land use rights to individual households have affected the way people have been able to acquire and secure land tenure.

Reports & Research
December 2016
Laos

ABSTRACTED FROM EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Rubber prices in northern Laos have fallen significantly over the last few years, eroding much of the enthusiasm developed by both farmers and government officials in the 1990s and early 2000s about rubber providing a way out of poverty for poor upland farmers.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

In land systems, equitably managing trade-offs between planetary boundaries and human development needs represents a grand challenge in sustainability oriented initiatives. Informing such initiatives requires knowledge about the nexus between land use, poverty, and environment. This paper presents results from Lao PDR, where we combined nationwide spatial data on land use types and the environmental state of landscapes with village-level poverty indicators. Our analysis reveals two general but contrasting trends.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015

The government of the Lao People’s Democratic Republic has made great efforts to halt the rapid decline in forest cover by implementing different policy measures, which include measures: to address the causes of the decline in forest cover; to sustainably manage natural forests; and to regenerate degraded forests. In the last decade, forest cover has continued to decrease at a lower rate of just 1% from 2002 (41.5%) to 2010 (40.3%) at national level; however, there has been a net gain of forests in the northern region.

Policy Papers & Briefs
December 2015
Cambodia

Thirty years after Cambodia’s ‘democratization’ by the United Nations Transitional Authority (UNTAC), the transition to a market-based economy is raging at full steam. Democracy remains elusive, but policy interventions from Cambodia’s “development partners” color the political, social, and environmental landscapes. This paper attends to the land grabs characteristic of market transitions and to the climate change mitigation strategies currently enhancing conflicts over land and resources in contemporary Cambodia.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015
Cambodia

In this paper, we present an analysis of the change in household land use following a conservation-driven process of indigenous land titling reform in a Cambodian protected area. In each of the two study villages, we investigated how household land use had changed and the extent of compliance with both legal boundaries of titled areas and community regulations created to govern land use within these areas. A comparison of current household land holdings in each village with those at the start of the tenure reform process indicated a significant increase in household land holdings.

Journal Articles & Books
December 2015
Cambodia

In a widely read paper, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, World Bank and others propose systematic property rights formalization as a key step in addressing the problems of irresponsible agricultural investment. This paper examines the case of Cambodia, one of a number of countries where systematic land titling and large-scale land concessions have proceeded in parallel in recent years.

Reports & Research
December 2015
Myanmar

ABSTRACTED FROM THE EXECUTIVE SUMMARY: Myanmar’s agricultural sector has for long suffered due to multiplicity of laws and regulations, deficient and degraded infrastructure, poor policies and planning, a chronic lack of credit, and an absence of tenure security for cultivators. These woes negate Myanmar’s bountiful natural endowments and immense agricultural potential, pushing its rural populace towards dire poverty. This review hopes to contribute to the ongoing debate on land issues in Myanmar.