Global Land News


Every week, we collect the latest on land and environmental justice from a wide range of sources. These stories share challenges and victories from the local to the global.


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Asia: How Land Reform Shaped Asia’s Tiger Economies

April 19, 2017
in: Food Security, Land Reform, Landlessness

Asia’s Tigers, the collection of booming economies that emerged in the East following World War II, are often hailed as economic miracles. There was, though, no “secret sauce” behind that sustained and broad-based economic growth. Rather, as Myanmar is poised to show, the key ingredient for a Tiger economy can be found right beneath our feet.

Global: The Necessary Alliance between Conservationists and Rights Advocates

April 18, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conservation, Dams, Indigenous, Land Grab, Mining, Natural Resources

The appropriation and degradation of biodiversity and natural ecosystems is a double injustice, impoverishing the indigenous and traditional peoples who depend on them for sustenance and identity, and contributing to insecurity of human life more generally. Effective conservation requires that we address both injustices, and addressing both requires that the conservation and rights communities work together to a greater degree than we have managed thus far.

Sub-Saharan Africa: Study Calls for Tailored Decisions for Agriculture Expansion in Africa

April 15, 2017
in: Conservation, Forest, Land Reform, Pastoralists

A new study calls for policymakers to tailor decisions regarding deforestation around Africa’s unique dynamics and uncertainties while the region expands production of in-demand commodity crops such as cocoa, soy and oil palm, at the cost of tropical forests. Published in Environmental Research Letters, the study provides the first comprehensive assessment of how international demand for commodity crops is affecting sub-Saharan Africa’s tropical forests.

Malaysia: Court Rules Land Grab Unlawful

April 15, 2017
in: Accountability, Land Dispute, Land Grab, Land Titles

In a landmark decision, the Court of Appeals ruled that the forced acquisition of 10.5ha of private land by the Selangor state government and five state authorities, including the Selangor Islamic Religious Department, was unlawful and tainted with bad faith. The court, on grounds of the judgment made available yesterday, restored and enhanced the protection of landowners’ rights in Malaysia against such acquisitions.

Peru: Is This My Land?

April 14, 2017
in: Community Rights, Indigenous, Legislation, Mapping

For Amazonian and native communities, it is not a matter of ignoring or rejecting the market, but rather finding the best way to relate to it while preserving their ancestral properties, rights, traditions, and knowledge (which are key for biodiversity and intellectual property). Solving that equation is not easy, of course, but it is clear—especially since the “baguazo4“—that force does not solve anything.

Global: Indigenous People Can Manage Their Forests Better Than Anyone Else

April 13, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conservation, Forest, Indigenous, Land Reform, Legislation, Pastoralists

The conventional wisdom among many environmentalists is that there are inherent trade-offs between protecting the environment and securing social justice for indigenous and forest-dependent people. In my new book, Democracy in the Woods: Environmental Conservation and Social Justice in India, Tanzania, and Mexico, I challenge that perspective. My research shows that when countries protect the rights of forest-dependent people and support popular participation in the political process, they are better able to handle conflicts over the environment.

India: Denial of Rights to Tribals in Tiger Reserves Raises Fears of Violence

April 12, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conservation, Forest, Indigenous, Land Dispute, Legislation

The Indian government has directed states not to grant rights to indigenous people and forest dwellers living in tiger reserves, a move that could hurt vulnerable communities, trigger clashes and endanger wildlife, human rights activists said.

Guyana: Indigenous Villages to Receive Titles

April 11, 2017
in: Community Rights, Indigenous, Land Titles, Mapping

Several Indigenous communities are expected to be titled and demarcated under the extended Amerindian Land Titling and Demarcation Project this year.

Global: Land Titling for Indigenous Communities Leads to Forest Protection, Peer-Reviewed Study Finds

April 10, 2017
in: Community Rights, Conservation, Forest, Indigenous, Land Titles

Previous studies have found that securing indigenous land rights is a successful path to keeping forests and the carbon sinks they represent intact, but the full effects of land titling for indigenous communities are still unclear. Now the authors of a peer-reviewed study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences last week say they found that forest clearance is actually reduced by more than three-quarters and forest disturbance by roughly two-thirds over the two-year timespan immediately following the granting of land title to an indigenous community.

Philippines: DAR Gives Thumbs Up on ‘Free Land Distribution’ Deal in Peace Talks

April 8, 2017
in: Conflict, Land Reform, Landlessness, Legislation

The Department of Agrarian Reform welcomed initial agreements to make free land distribution the “basic principle” of agrarian reform in the Philippines during the fourth round of peace talks between the government and the National Democratic Front of the Philippines.

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