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The land and its people

By: Paul D'Odorico, Maria Rulli

The authors of this article published in the journal Nature: Geoscience argue that even those large-scale land acquisitions carried out with the informed consent of local communities can jeopardize the food security and livelihoods of selling communities. Large-scale land acquisitions commoditize land, transforming it from a natural source of food and resources for local communities into financial capital. The revenue communities derive from land they sell is tied to international financial markets that are unpredictable, volatile, and subject to failure. As the article’s brief case study of Nauru illustrates, large-scale land acquisitions leading to a dependency upon financial markets can greatly undermine communities’ food security, by substituting a steady source of sustenance in the form of land for uncertain benefits. The authors argue that effective legal recognition of communal land tenure can prevent the sale, privatization, and commoditization of community lands.

Keywords: communal land tenure, large-scale land acquisitions, commoditization of land, financial markets.

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Uploaded on: Jul 27, 2015
Last Updated: Feb 27, 2017
Year Published: 2014
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