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Land 2016, 5(2), 11; doi:10.3390/land5020011

Historical Changes of Land Tenure and Land Use Rights in a Local Community: A Case Study in Lao PDR

1
Graduate School of Social and Culture Studies, Kyushu University, 744, Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka City 819-0395, Japan
2
Faculty of Forestry Sciences, National University of Laos, P.O. Box 7322, Dong Dok Campus, Xaythany District, Vientiane Capital City, Lao PDR
3
Institute of Tropical Agriculture, Kyushu University, 6-10-1 Hakozaki, Higashi-ku, Fukuoka City 812-8581, Japan
4
Center for International Partnerships and Research on Climate Change, Forestry and Forest Products Research Institute (FFPRI), 1 Matsunosato, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8687, Japan
5
Institute of Decision Science for a Sustainable Society, Kyushu University, 744, Motooka, Nishi-ku, Fukuoka City 819-0395, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Ian Baird
Received: 19 November 2015 / Revised: 12 April 2016 / Accepted: 18 April 2016 / Published: 29 April 2016
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Abstract

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. For our case study, we selected the village of Napo, the target of many land tenure changes in the past four decades. We collected data from district offices, group discussions with village organizations, and interviews with selected households. The study shows how land use rights shifted over time and reveals that households obtained most of their agricultural land and forestland through a claim process. Original households were mainly land claimers, while migrants were land buyers. The process of formalization and allocation of tenure triggered inequality among households. Attention is needed in future land governance and tenure reforms in order to safeguard the land use rights of local people in an equitable manner. View Full-Text
Keywords: land use rights; land tenure; property rights; land acquisition; household land; land formalization; Laos land use rights; land tenure; property rights; land acquisition; household land; land formalization; Laos
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Boutthavong, S.; Hyakumura, K.; Ehara, M.; Fujiwara, T. Historical Changes of Land Tenure and Land Use Rights in a Local Community: A Case Study in Lao PDR. Land 2016, 5, 11.

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