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
December 2013

Mapping large areas for planning and conservation is a challenge undergoing rapid transformation. For centuries, the creation of broad-extent maps was the near-exclusive domain of expert specialist cartographers, who painstakingly delineated regions of relative homogeneity with respect to a given set of criteria. In the satellite era, it has become possible to rapidly create and update categorizations of Earth’s surface with improved speed and flexibility. Land cover datasets and landscape metrics offer a vast set of information for viewing and quantifying land cover across large areas.

Peer-reviewed publication
March 2014

A landscape perspective is generally recognized as essential for conservation biology. The main underlying reason is that species respond to features of the landscape at various spatial scales, for example habitat area, connectivity, and matrix habitats. However, there is also an “historical” component of a landscape perspective, which has not received similar attention. The underlying reasons for historical effects are that humans have influenced landscapes during several millennia and that species and communities may respond slowly to land use change.

Peer-reviewed publication
July 2014

Traditional agrosilvopastoral systems have been an important component of the farming systems and livelihoods of thousands of ethnic minority people in the uplands of Mainland Southeast Asia. Drawing on a combination of qualitative and participatory inquiries in nine ethnic minority communities, this study emphasizes the complex articulation of local farmers’ knowledge which has been so far excluded from governmental development and conservation policies in the northern uplands of Thailand and Laos.

Understanding changing land access and use by the rural poor in Ghana cover image
Journal Articles & Books
May 2017

In Ghana 70 per cent of the population are smallholder farmers who depend on the land for their basic needs. Growing competition for this resource is having significant impacts on rural livelihoods and governance as land changes hands. This study highlights the key drivers of pressure on rural land and their communities, such as population growth, urbanisation and acquisition of land by new actors, including government and business.

19 June 2017


Online Event
United States

Join the Global Land Tool Network (GLTN)'s Global Land Indicators Initiative (GLII), LANDac, the Land Alliance, the Land Portal and USAID for an online event exploring land tenure and the SDGs.

20 June 2017 to 4 July 2017
Malcolm Childress

From June 20th to July 4th, 2017, the Land Portal, in collaboration with GLTN/GLII, Land Alliance and LandAC, will co-facilitate a dialogue through which a variety of stakeholders will focus on discussions centered around measuring the perception of land tenure security in the context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).  

O Congresso Nacional tornou-se um campo de caça aos direitos dos povos indígenas - Foto: Celso Maldos
Manuals & Guidelines
June 2015

Para que esta publicação possa cumprir seu propósito, é necessário entender a importância do controle social para a formulação e implementação de políticas públicas no Brasil e sua ligação com aconstrução de uma sociedade democrática.

Journal Articles & Books
June 2017

Suplemento do Jornal de Angola sobre agricultura e desenvolvimento