Access to Land & Tenure Security

Land tenure is the relationship, whether legally or customarily defined, among people, as individuals or groups, with respect to land. (For convenience, "land" is used here to include other natural resources such as water and trees.) Land tenure is an institution, i.e., rules invented by societies to regulate behaviour. Rules of tenure define how property rights to land are to be allocated within societies. They define how access is granted to rights to use, control, and transfer land, as well as associated responsibilities and restraints. In simple terms, land tenure systems determine who can use what resources for how long, and under what conditions.

Land tenure is an important part of social, political and economic structures. It is multi-dimensional, bringing into play social, technical, economic, institutional, legal and political aspects that are often ignored but must be taken into account. Land tenure relationships may be well-defined and enforceable in a formal court of law or through customary structures in a community. Alternatively, they may be relatively poorly defined with ambiguities open to exploitation.

Source: GLTN

 

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2017

Urban expansion has become a widespread trend in developing countries. Road networks are an extremely important factor driving the expansion of urban land and require further study. To investigate the relationship between road networks and urban expansion, we selected Beijing, New York, London, and Chicago as study areas. First, we obtained urban land use vector data through image interpretation using a remote sensing (RS) and geographic information systems (GIS) platform and then used overlay analysis to extract information on urban expansion.

Peer-reviewed publication
March 2017

Over the last decade, there have been considerable concerns raised regarding the social and environmental impacts of large-scale land concessions for plantation development in various parts of the world, especially in the tropics, including in Laos and Cambodia. However, there is still much to learn about the various connections and interactions associated with reactions to what are often referred to as “land grabs”, and the ways they are associated or not associated with broader social movements and networks opposed to land grabbing.

Peer-reviewed publication
March 2017

Smallholder farmers and indigenous communities must cope with the opportunities and threats presented by rapidly spreading estate crops in the frontier of the agricultural market economy. Smallholder communities are subject to considerable speculation by outsiders, yet large-scale agriculture presents tradeoffs that they must navigate. We initiated a study in Sintang, West Kalimantan in 2012 and have returned annually for the last four years, building the baselines for a longer-term landscape approach to reconciling conservation and development tradeoffs in situ.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2014

In a modeling study we examine vulnerability of income from mobile (transhumant) pastoralism and sedentary pastoralism to reduced mean annual precipitation (MAP) and droughts. The study is based on empirical data of a 3410 km2 research region in southern, semi-arid Morocco. The land use decision model integrates a meta-model of the Environmental Policy Integrated Climate (EPIC) simulator to depict perennial and annual forage plant development. It also includes livestock dynamics and forward-looking decision making under uncertain weather.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2017

Riparian ecosystems are valuable to the ecological and human communities that depend on them. Over the past century, they have been subject to shifting management practices to maximize human use and ecosystem services, creating a complex relationship between water policy, management, and the natural ecosystem. This has necessitated research on the spatial and temporal dynamics of riparian vegetation change. The San Acacia Reach of the Middle Rio Grande has experienced multiple management and river flow fluctuations, resulting in threats to its riparian and aquatic ecosystems.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2017

Community-managed reserves (CMRs) comprise the fastest-growing category of protected areas throughout the tropics. CMRs represent a compromise between advocates of nature conservation and advocates of human development. We ask whether CMRs succeed in achieving the goals of either. A fixed reserve area can produce only a finite resource supply, whereas human populations exploiting them tend to expand rapidly while adopting high-impact technologies to satisfy rising aspirations. Intentions behind the establishment of CMRs may be admirable, but represent an ideal rarely achieved.

Peer-reviewed publication
October 2015

Despite scientific progress in operationalizing sustainable development (SD), it is still hampered by methodological challenges at the regional level. We developed a framework to analyse stakeholder based, SD targets for future land use, which are characterized by different impact levels and spatial references. The framework allows for the analysis of land use demands in the context of SD. We identified societal use targets in north-eastern Germany, particularly for the area type’s lowland fens and irrigation fields, represented through strategy documents.

Peer-reviewed publication
December 2014

Crown diameter and tree density were measured in 52 communities in the Sudan-Sahel using satellite imagery to determine the relationships between rainfall and distance from community center to crown size diameter and tree density. As distance from the community center increased, tree density and crown diameter decreased. As rainfall increased, tree density decreased while crown diameter increased. Distance from the community center is a proxy for age since urbanization and our results indicate that older parts of communities show longer and more consistent tree management.

Peer-reviewed publication
March 2017

The spatial patterns resulting from large fires include refugial habitats that support surviving legacies and promote ecosystem recovery. To better understand the diverse ecological functions of refugia on burn mosaics, we used remotely sensed data to quantify neighborhood patterns of areas relatively unchanged following the 2011 Las Conchas fire. Spatial patterns of refugia measured within 10-ha moving windows varied across a gradient from areas of high density, clustered in space, to sparsely populated neighborhoods that occurred in the background matrix.

Peer-reviewed publication
December 2015

Land uses are changing rapidly in Vietnam’s upland northern borderlands. Regional development platforms such as the Greater Mekong Subregion, state-propelled market integration and reforestation programs, and lowland entrepreneurs and migrants are all impacting this frontier landscape. Drawing on a mixed methods approach using remote sensing data from 2000 to 2009 and ethnographic fieldwork, we examine how land-use and land-cover change (LULCC) has occurred across three borderland provinces—Lai Châu, Lào Cai and Hà Giang—with high proportions of ethnic minority semi-subsistence farmers.