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Land, Volume 8, Issue 8 (August 2019)

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Cover Story (view full-size image) The Vietnamese government’s proposed amendments to the Land Law will, for the first time in [...] Read more.
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Possession and Precedence: Juxtaposing Customary and Legal Events to Establish Land Authority
Land 2019, 8(8), 126; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080126 - 18 Aug 2019
Viewed by 474
Abstract
Land restitution carries implicit recognition of some previous claim to ownership, but when are first claims recognized? The concepts of first possession and original acquisition have long been used as entry points to Western concepts of property. For Austronesia, the concept of precedence [...] Read more.
Land restitution carries implicit recognition of some previous claim to ownership, but when are first claims recognized? The concepts of first possession and original acquisition have long been used as entry points to Western concepts of property. For Austronesia, the concept of precedence is used in customary systems to justify and describe land claims and Indigenous authority. Conflict and political change in Timor-Leste have highlighted the co-existence of multiple understandings of land claims and their legitimacy. Considering customary principles of precedence brings into relief important elements of first possession important in land restitution processes. This paper juxtaposes the concept of original acquisition in property theory to two different examples of original claims from Timor-Leste: a two-part customary origin narrative from Oecusse and the development of a national land law for the new state. In these three narratives, we identify three different establishment events from which land authority develops. The article then uses this idea of the establishment event to explore five points of customary-statutory intersection evident from the land restitution process: (1) legitimate sources of land authority; (2) arbitrary establishment dates; (3) privileging of social order; (4) recognition of spiritual ties to land; and (5) the possibility for reversal. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Place Attachment and Its Consequence for Landscape-Scale Management and Readiness to Participate: Social Network Complexity in the Post-Soviet Rural Context of Latvia and Estonia
Land 2019, 8(8), 125; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080125 - 13 Aug 2019
Viewed by 508
Abstract
This paper uses the tripartite place attachment framework to examine six rural parishes across Estonia and Latvia. Existing analyses/frameworks on participatory processes often neglect the complexity of relationships that rural residents have to their local environments. From a qualitative analysis of face-to-face, semi-structured [...] Read more.
This paper uses the tripartite place attachment framework to examine six rural parishes across Estonia and Latvia. Existing analyses/frameworks on participatory processes often neglect the complexity of relationships that rural residents have to their local environments. From a qualitative analysis of face-to-face, semi-structured interviews with case study area inhabitants (23 interviews in Estonia and 27 in Latvia), we depict varying degrees of attachment of individuals to each other and to the place in which they live and their readiness to participate in terms of willingness and ability to participate in a landscape-scale management process. Attachment to the local area was strongest where the social ties were strongest, independent of their sociogeographical features. Social ties were strong where there were good family connections or strong religious or cultural institutions. Taking individual parishes and engaging inhabitants through in-depth interviews using place attachment analysis gives an overall perspective of life in that rural location. These findings reveal important connections within the communities with the potential for planners to engage with local inhabitants and possible barriers to participation. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Assessment of Energy–Population–Urbanization Nexus with Changing Energy Industry Scenario in India
Land 2019, 8(8), 124; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080124 - 13 Aug 2019
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 462
Abstract
The demand for energy has been growing worldwide, especially in India partly due to the rapid population growth and urbanization of the country. To meet the ever-increasing energy requirement while maintaining an ecological balance is a challenging task. However, the energy industry-induced effect [...] Read more.
The demand for energy has been growing worldwide, especially in India partly due to the rapid population growth and urbanization of the country. To meet the ever-increasing energy requirement while maintaining an ecological balance is a challenging task. However, the energy industry-induced effect on population and urbanization has not been addressed before. Therefore, this study investigates the linkages between energy, population, and urbanization. The study also aims to find the quantifiable indicators for the population growth and rate of urbanization due to the expanding energy industry. The integrated framework uses a multi-temporal Landsat data to analyze the urbanization pattern, a census data for changes in population growth, night time light (NTL) data as an indicator for economic development and energy production and consumption data for energy index. Multi-attribute model is used to calculate a unified metric, termed as the energy–population–urbanization (EPU) nexus index. The proposed approach is demonstrated in the National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Dadri power plant located in Uttar Pradesh, India. Landsat and NTL data clearly shows the urbanization pattern, economic development, and electrification in the study area. A comparative analysis based on various multi-attribute decision model assessment techniques suggests that the average value of EPU nexus index is 0.529, which significantly large compared to other studies and require special attention by policymakers because large EPU index indicates stronger correlation among energy, population, and urbanization. The authors believe that it would help the policymakers in planning and development of future energy projects, policies, and long-term strategies as India is expanding its energy industry. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Comparative Review of Methods Supporting Decision-Making in Urban Development and Land Management
Land 2019, 8(8), 123; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080123 - 07 Aug 2019
Viewed by 447
Abstract
This paper discusses how and where technologies supporting decision-making can play, or are already playing, a role in both urban development and land management. The review analyzes and compares three types of technologies: cellular automata (CA), artificial intelligence (AI), and operational research (OR), [...] Read more.
This paper discusses how and where technologies supporting decision-making can play, or are already playing, a role in both urban development and land management. The review analyzes and compares three types of technologies: cellular automata (CA), artificial intelligence (AI), and operational research (OR), and evaluates to which extent they can be useful when dealing with various land planning objectives and phases. CA is one of the most useful models for simulating urban growth, AI displays great potential as a solution to capture the dynamics of land change, and OR is useful in decision-making, for example to conduct locational analyses. The evaluation relies on a collection of relevant articles, selected on the basis of both content and actuality. The paper offers new perspectives towards innovative methods in urban planning and land management and highlights where and when which type of tool can be considered useful and valid. The existing gaps, i.e., phases or areas in spatial planning or land management where the methods have not been applied, are also discussed. Full article
Open AccessArticle
An Assessment of Multiple Drivers Determining Woody Species Composition and Structure: A Case Study from the Kalahari, Botswana
Land 2019, 8(8), 122; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080122 - 05 Aug 2019
Viewed by 594
Abstract
Savannas are extremely important socio-economic landscapes, with pastoralist societies relying on these ecosystems to sustain their livelihoods and economy. Globally, there is an increase of woody vegetation in these ecosystems, degrading the potential of these multi-functional landscapes to sustain societies and wildlife. Several [...] Read more.
Savannas are extremely important socio-economic landscapes, with pastoralist societies relying on these ecosystems to sustain their livelihoods and economy. Globally, there is an increase of woody vegetation in these ecosystems, degrading the potential of these multi-functional landscapes to sustain societies and wildlife. Several mechanisms have been invoked to explain the processes responsible for woody vegetation composition; however, these are often investigated separately at scales not best suited to land-managers, thereby impeding the evaluation of their relative importance. We ran six transects at 15 sites along the Kalahari transect, collecting data on species identity, diversity, and abundance. We used Poisson and Tobit regression models to investigate the relationship among woody vegetation, precipitation, grazing, borehole density, and fire. We identified 44 species across 78 transects, with the highest species richness and abundance occurring at Kuke (middle of the rainfall gradient). Precipitation was the most important environmental variable across all species and various morphological groups, while increased borehole density and livestock resulted in lower bipinnate species abundance, contradicting the consensus that these managed features increase the presence of such species. Rotating cattle between boreholes subsequently reduces the impact of trampling and grazing on the soil and maintains and/or reduces woody vegetation abundance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Global Vegetation and Land Surface Dynamics in a Changing Climate)
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Open AccessArticle
A Land-Based and Spatial Assessment of Local Food Capacity in Northern Idaho, USA
Land 2019, 8(8), 121; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080121 - 04 Aug 2019
Viewed by 637
Abstract
Across the United States, there has been a growing interest in local food production, which provides an alternative way to increase self-sufficiency and support greater well-being and food security at the community level. This study focused on the Northern Panhandle region of Idaho, [...] Read more.
Across the United States, there has been a growing interest in local food production, which provides an alternative way to increase self-sufficiency and support greater well-being and food security at the community level. This study focused on the Northern Panhandle region of Idaho, where opportunities derived from the local food movement have emerged in several resort and college towns. This research integrated spatial analysis and modeling in a geographic information system (GIS) environment and a linear-programming (LP) optimization approach to identify, quantify, and map these potential opportunities. The obtained results show that existing local food producers are located in the urban fringe and on productive cropland. The foodshed model further suggests that Northern Idaho has enough farmland to feed its whole population within an average distance of 49 km or 31 miles. An alternative land use scenario was explored that involves removing marginal cropland with high soil erodibility from commodity cropping to improve the ecological benefits of local food production. The results of the study, including nuanced evidence of growing demand for local-food products, the existence of enough cropland capacity to meet demand, and potential environmental benefits, are quite encouraging to local food advocates in Northern Idaho and other areas and demonstrate the utility of land-based foodshed analysis. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
From “Land to the Tiller” to the “New Landlords”? The Debate over Vietnam’s Latest Land Reforms
Land 2019, 8(8), 120; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080120 - 02 Aug 2019
Viewed by 589
Abstract
Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to [...] Read more.
Between Vietnam’s independence and its reunification in 1975, the country’s socialist land tenure system was underpinned by the principle of “land to the tiller”. During this period, government redistributed land to farmers that was previously owned by landlords. The government’s “egalitarian” approach to land access was central to the mass support that it needed during the Indochinese war. Even when the 1993 Land Law transitioned agricultural land from collectivized to household holdings with 20-year land use certificates, the “land to the tiller” principle remained largely sacrosanct in state policy. Planned amendments to the current Land Law (issued in 2013), however, propose a fundamental shift from “land to the tiller” to the concentration of land by larger farming concerns, including private sector investors. This is explained as being necessary for the modernization of agricultural production. The government’s policy narrative concerning this change emphasizes the need to overcome the low productivity that arises from land fragmentation, the prevalence of unskilled labor and resource shortages among smallholders. This is contrasted with the readily available resources and capacity of the private sector, together with opportunities for improved market access and high-tech production systems, if holdings were consolidated by companies. This major proposed transition in land governance has catalyzed heated debate over the potential risks and benefits. Many perceive it as a shift from a “pro-poor” to “pro-rich” policy, or from “land to the tiller” to the establishment of a “new landlord”—with all the historical connotations that this badge invokes. Indeed, the growing level of public concern over land concentration raises potential implications for state legitimacy. This paper examines key narratives on the government-supported land concentration policy, to understand how the risks, benefits and legitimacy of the policy change are understood by different stakeholders. The paper considers how the transition could change land access and governance in Vietnam, based on early experience with the approach. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle
Rights in the Time of Populism: Land and Institutional Change Amid the Reemergence of Right-Wing Authoritarianism in Colombia
Land 2019, 8(8), 119; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080119 - 31 Jul 2019
Viewed by 938
Abstract
In Colombia, right-wing leadership returned to power after winning the presidential elections in 2018 in a campaign in which they opposed the previous government, primarily because of the negotiations and peacemaking with the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo ‘Armed Revolutionary [...] Read more.
In Colombia, right-wing leadership returned to power after winning the presidential elections in 2018 in a campaign in which they opposed the previous government, primarily because of the negotiations and peacemaking with the FARC-EP (Fuerzas Armadas Revolucionarias de Colombia—Ejército del Pueblo ‘Armed Revolutionary Forces of Colombia—People’s Army’), Colombia’s largest guerrilla organization. Globally, there is a vibrant academic debate about how to characterize the current rise of right-wing populism or authoritarianism, but more profound insights from each country’s situation and its political economy implications are needed. The victory in Colombia was due to numerous factors, including the support from some rural elites who have historically obstructed the enforcement of redistributive land policies. However, the populist aspirations of the right-wing government have been persistently frustrated not only by social unrest and political mobilization but also because of the enforcement of institutions previously incorporated into the country’s political scenario. Specifically, in terms of agrarian political economy, two sets of human rights-oriented institutional changes are relevant regarding this matter: (a) the Land Restitution Law enacted in 2011 and (b) the Comprehensive Rural Reform contained in the Agrarian Chapter of the Peace Agreement between the national government and the FARC-EP in 2016. The purpose of this paper is to ground the ongoing theoretical and political debate about the rise of different forms of populism and right-wing authoritarianism in the current Colombian political context, and its implications on the countryside. The analytical contribution of this paper is twofold: On the one hand, I propose an alternative for explaining the nature of the current political regime in Colombia as right-wing authoritarianism; on the other hand, I analyze some features of such regimes in terms of its disputes with the enforcement of human rights-oriented institutions, that are in force as the result of political processes triggered by peasants’ mobilization. Full article
Open AccessArticle
Land-Use, Crop Choice, and Proximity to Ethanol Plants
Land 2019, 8(8), 118; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080118 - 30 Jul 2019
Viewed by 445
Abstract
This paper examines how proximity to an ethanol plant influences land-use and crop choice among producers. We estimated a Tobit model of crop choice within parcels located in Central Nebraska in a 2014 sample period in order to analyze changes in land-use and [...] Read more.
This paper examines how proximity to an ethanol plant influences land-use and crop choice among producers. We estimated a Tobit model of crop choice within parcels located in Central Nebraska in a 2014 sample period in order to analyze changes in land-use and crop choice. We employed Geographic Information System (GIS) databases to access relevant data on crop choice and other land uses in the study area parcels, in addition to detailed information on the location and capacity of irrigation wells. We utilized an instrumental variable approach to account for the endogeneity of crop choice with ethanol refinery locations in the study area. Our regional model also took into account specific characteristics of the local processing markets for grains, including animal food manufacturers and livestock as well as ethanol plants. Our estimates revealed that ethanol plants alter land-use in several ways. We found that proximity to an ethanol plant increases the share of land allocated to corn cultivation up to a distance of 30 miles and that the portion of land parcels allocated to corn production falls with distance from an ethanol plant in a non-linear pattern. We also find that land allocation to grassland and pasture rises with distance from ethanol plants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Use Transitions)
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Open AccessArticle
Legal Certainty in the Management of Agricultural Land Pawning in the Matrilineal Minangkabau Society, West Sumatra
Land 2019, 8(8), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080117 - 30 Jul 2019
Viewed by 433
Abstract
Agricultural land pawning is not a new phenomenon to the traditional communities (Masyarakat Adat) in Indonesia, especially the matrilineal Minangkabau people who rely on their agricultural land for economic transactions. Based on the national law, customary law (referred to as Adat [...] Read more.
Agricultural land pawning is not a new phenomenon to the traditional communities (Masyarakat Adat) in Indonesia, especially the matrilineal Minangkabau people who rely on their agricultural land for economic transactions. Based on the national law, customary law (referred to as Adat Law hereafter) is to prevail over agrarian issues in Indonesia. But even so, agrarian issues remain under the influence of national law. This study discusses the management of agricultural land pawning in the matrilineal Minangkabau society according to national, Adat, and Islamic laws. Despite its popularity, the Adat law approach in dealing with land issues, especially agricultural land pawning, has not been well accommodated under National Law. This paper investigates how agricultural land pawning is regulated in Indonesia, with a focus on the Minangkabau society in West Sumatra. This paper does not seek to promote one legal system over another, but instead, it intends to promote legal certainty in agricultural land pawning in West Sumatra. To show how the lack of legal certainty can lead to confusion and conflict, this study relies on the contradicting verdicts of an agrarian conflict case from lower courts to the Supreme Court. The study reveals that the contradiction between national agrarian laws, Minangkabau Adat law and West Sumatra local Regulation No. 16/2008 on Communal Land Tenure causes confusion within the community and the judiciary. Legal certainty is crucial to strengthening the rule of law and democracy in Indonesia, and the conflicting interpretations of agrarian laws belittle this concept. This study suggests that one way to deal with legal uncertainty regarding agrarian law in West Sumatra, and throughout Indonesia, is to promote a stronger and more just decentralization, which is increasingly important as the country faces the question of legal unification. The suggested decentralization effort would leave local issues to the authority of local legislations. Full article
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Open AccessArticle
Reflections on How State–Civil Society Collaborations Play out in the Context of Land Grabbing in Argentina
Land 2019, 8(8), 116; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080116 - 30 Jul 2019
Viewed by 443
Abstract
We examine collaborations between the state and civil society in the context of land grabbing in Argentina. Land grabbing provokes many governance challenges, which generate new social arrangements. The incentives for, limitations to, and contradictions inherent in these collaborations are examined. We particularly [...] Read more.
We examine collaborations between the state and civil society in the context of land grabbing in Argentina. Land grabbing provokes many governance challenges, which generate new social arrangements. The incentives for, limitations to, and contradictions inherent in these collaborations are examined. We particularly explore how the collaborations between the provincial government of Santiago del Estero and non-government organizations (NGOs) played out. This province has experienced many land grabs, especially for agriculture and livestock production. In response to protest and political pressure, two provincial agencies were established to assist communities in relation to land tenure issues (at different stages). Even though many scholars consider state–civil society collaborations to be introduced by nation states only to gain and maintain political power, we show how rural communities are actually supported by these initiatives. By empowering rural populations, active NGOs can make a difference to how the negative implications of land grabbing are addressed. However, NGOs and government agencies are constrained by global forces, local political power plays, and stakeholder struggles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Rural Landscapes - Challenges and Solutions to Landscape Governance)
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Open AccessArticle
Opportunities and Limitations for Achieving Land Degradation-Neutrality through the Current Land-Use Policy Framework in Kenya
Land 2019, 8(8), 115; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080115 - 26 Jul 2019
Viewed by 533
Abstract
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) land degradation neutrality (LDN) scientific conceptual framework underscores that LDN planning and implementation should be integrated into existing planning processes and supported by an enabling policy environment. Land-use planning, which requires the integration of different [...] Read more.
The United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) land degradation neutrality (LDN) scientific conceptual framework underscores that LDN planning and implementation should be integrated into existing planning processes and supported by an enabling policy environment. Land-use planning, which requires the integration of different policy goals across various sectors concerned with land-use, can be an effective mechanism through which decisions with respect to LDN can be coordinated. Using Kenya as a case study, we examined current policy instruments that directly or indirectly impact on the use of land in a rural context, to assess their potential to implement LDN objectives. The qualitative content analysis of these instruments indicated that they are rich with specific legal provisions and measures to address LDN, and that there are a number of relevant institutions and structures across governance levels. However, the main shortcoming is the disjointed approach that is scattered across policy areas. Key policy improvements needed to support effective implementation of LDN include: a national soil policy on the management and protection of soil and land; a systematic and coordinated data collection strategy on soils; mobilisation of adequate and sustained financial resources; streamlined responsibilities, and governance structures across national, regional and county levels. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN))
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Open AccessEditorial
Editorial for Special Issue: “Livelihood and Landscape Change in Africa: Future Trajectories for Improved Well-Being under a Changing Climate”
Land 2019, 8(8), 114; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080114 - 26 Jul 2019
Viewed by 502
Abstract
Rural people’s livelihoods are intimately linked to the landscapes in which they live and are particularly vulnerable to changes in these landscapes (Suich et al [...] Full article
Open AccessArticle
Land of Plenty, Land of Misery: Synergetic Resource Grabbing in Mozambique
Land 2019, 8(8), 113; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8080113 - 24 Jul 2019
Viewed by 1010
Abstract
Global climate change policy enforcement has become the new driving force of resource grabbing in the context of the “scramble of resources” in Africa. Nevertheless, the environmental crisis should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon amid contemporary capitalism. On the contrary, a [...] Read more.
Global climate change policy enforcement has become the new driving force of resource grabbing in the context of the “scramble of resources” in Africa. Nevertheless, the environmental crisis should not be seen as an isolated phenomenon amid contemporary capitalism. On the contrary, a very distinct feature of the current wave of land grabs is the convergence of multiple crises, including food, energy/fuel, environmental, and financial. The Southern Mozambique District, Massingir, is an area with high potential regarding water sources and biodiversity. It recently became a host of a biofuel project, and also a huge block of land is being transformed into a conservation/tourism area; answering to many issues within capitalism’s crisis, this area is an evidence of how synergetic resource grabbing can arise as a response to the convergence of multiple crises. Therefore, by analyzing the emerging politics of natural resources in Massingir District and the dynamics regarding the land-use change, changes in property relations, it is possible to understand how rural livelihoods are shaped. Risks related to food security and sovereignty, loss of control and access to resources, consistent narrowing down of the set of livelihood strategies, and inter-community conflicts over scarce resources are the main implications of such emerging climate-smart land politics. Full article
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