Special Issue "Land, Land Use and Social Issues"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 August 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Frank Vanclay

Cultural Geography, Director Urban & Regional Studies Institute, University of Groningen, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Interests: social impact assessment; social impact management; project induced displacement and resettlement; social license to operate; social sustainability; extractive industries and society; rural communities; community engagement; human rights impact assessment; business and human rights; Indigenous rights; free, prior and informed consent; natural resource sociology
Guest Editor
Dr. Constanza Parra

University of Leuven - KU Leuven, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Belgium
Website | E-Mail
Interests: protected areas; commons; social innovation; sustainable development; governance of socio-ecological systems; disasters

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Land, land use, land ownership, land tenure and land rights are much contested in concept and in practice. In addition to notions of place attachment and sense of place, critical concerns such as social justice, environmental justice, environmental movements, social protest, Indigenous peoples, informal tenure, land grabbing, livelihoods, displacement and resettlement, resistance and resilience are among the many issues that spring to mind when ‘land’ is considered from a social perspective. Many development projects cause the displacement of people. While international standards (e.g. the International Finance Corporation Performance Standards) advocate the avoidance of resettlement, there will still be times when it necessary to resettle people if the Sustainable Development Goals are to be achieved. Given the centrality of land to rural people’s lives, land-for-land has been the catchphrase intended to promote good development practice. However, land-for-land is difficult to implement, especially in terms of retaining the same or better quality land, and especially if community-based resettlement is intended. Restoring livelihoods in new locations can also be complex. Another significant land issue is the cumulative process of land acquisition, known as land grabbing, in which landscapes, production systems, and use of resources change. These changes can have profound social impacts for people rendered dispossessed by land grabbing. Land grabbing exacerbates issues of land tenure, especially in situations with informal tenure. Local people can be tricked into selling their land, or enticed or coerced to leave so that it voids their future claim to land rights. Into the future, international concerns about due diligence (as in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights), responsible sourcing, and human rights through the supply chain will mean that companies will need to be more responsible regarding how land is acquired. In some cases, restitution to original owners may be required. This Special Issue of Land seeks to include papers that address any of the social aspects associated with land, land use and land management. We seek papers from around the world that address conceptual issues or case studies revealing the importance of land, and/or that discuss problems that arise in relation to land grabbing or project land acquisition.

Prof. Dr. Frank Vanclay
Dr. Constanza Parra
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 750 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • land acquisition
  • displacement and resettlement
  • land grabbing
  • land for land
  • land rights
  • environmental justice
  • informal tenure
  • extractivism

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Conceptualizing Company Response to Community Protest: Principles to Achieve a Social License to Operate
Land 2019, 8(6), 101; https://doi.org/10.3390/land8060101 (registering DOI)
Received: 13 May 2019 / Revised: 6 June 2019 / Accepted: 19 June 2019 / Published: 20 June 2019
PDF Full-text (421 KB)
Abstract
To gain a social license to operate and grow, companies should have effective community engagement activities, social impact assessment processes, environmental and social impact management procedures, and human rights-compatible grievance redress mechanisms in place. In this way, environmental impacts and social impacts would [...] Read more.
To gain a social license to operate and grow, companies should have effective community engagement activities, social impact assessment processes, environmental and social impact management procedures, and human rights-compatible grievance redress mechanisms in place. In this way, environmental impacts and social impacts would likely be identified and addressed before issues escalate and social risk amplifies. Companies also need to treat communities with respect and be mindful of local culture. Where these things are not done, there will be no social license to operate. Protests are mechanisms by which affected communities express their concerns and signal there is no social license. As argued in our previous work on conceptualizing social protests, protests are warning signs, as well as opportunities for companies to improve. Rather than let protest actions escalate, leading to violent confrontation and considerable cost and harm, companies should engage in meaningful dialogue with protesters. Unfortunately, company response is often inadequate or inappropriate. In this paper, we identify around 175 actions companies might take in relation to community protest, and we discuss how these actions variously have the potential to escalate or de-escalate conflict, depending on whether the company engages in appropriate and genuine interaction with protesters or if repressive measures are used. While effective engagement will likely de-escalate conflict, ignoring or repressing protests tends to provoke stronger reactions from groups seeking to have their concerns heard. When companies address community concerns early, their social license to operate is enhanced. We also outline the primary international standards companies are expected to comply with, and we identify the key environmental, social, and governance issues (ESG principles) that should be respected. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Land Use and Social Issues)
Open AccessArticle
Can Traditional Authority Improve the Governance of Forestland and Sustainability? Case Study from the Congo (DRC)
Received: 13 March 2019 / Revised: 16 April 2019 / Accepted: 23 April 2019 / Published: 26 April 2019
PDF Full-text (849 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest [...] Read more.
With about 107 million hectares of moist forest, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) is a perfect paradox of a natural resources endowed country caught in repeated economic and socio-political crises. Democratic Republic of Congo possesses about 60% of the Congo basin’s forest on which the majority of its people rely for their survival. Even if the national forest land in the countryside is mainly exploited by local populations based on customary rights, they usually do not have land titles due to the fact that the state claims an exclusive ownership of all forest lands in the Congo basin including in DRC. The tragedy of “bad governance” of natural resources is often highlighted in the literature as one of the major drivers of poverty and conflicts in DRC. In the forest domain, several studies have demonstrated that state bureaucracies cannot convincingly improve the governance of forestland because of cronyism, institutional weaknesses, corruption and other vested interests that govern forest and land tenure systems in the country. There are however very few rigorous studies on the role of traditional leaders or chiefdoms in the governance of forests and land issues in the Congo basin. This research aimed at addressing this lack of knowledge by providing empirical evidence through the case study of Yawalo village, located around the Yangambi Biosphere Reserve in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From a methodological perspective, it used a mixed approach combining both qualitative (field observations, participatory mapping, interviews, focal group discussions, and desk research,) and quantitative (remote sensing and statistics) methods. The main findings of our research reveal that: (i) vested interests of traditional rulers in the DRC countryside are not always compatible with a sustainable management of forestland; and (ii) influential users of forestland resources at the local level take advantage of traditional leaders’ weaknesses—lack of autonomy and coercive means, erratic recognition of customary rights, and poor legitimacy—to impose illegal hunting and uncontrolled forest exploitation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Land Use and Social Issues)
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Open AccessArticle
Differentiations in Women’s Land Tenure Experiences: Implications for Women’s Land Access and Tenure Security in Sub-Saharan Africa
Received: 7 December 2018 / Revised: 26 December 2018 / Accepted: 17 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
Cited by 2 | PDF Full-text (1462 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Most literature on land tenure in sub-Saharan Africa has presented women as a homogenous group. This study uses evidence from Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe to show that women have differentiated problems, needs, and statuses in their quest for land access and tenure security. [...] Read more.
Most literature on land tenure in sub-Saharan Africa has presented women as a homogenous group. This study uses evidence from Ghana, Nigeria, and Zimbabwe to show that women have differentiated problems, needs, and statuses in their quest for land access and tenure security. It illustrates how women-to-women differences influence women’s access to land. By investigating differentiations in women’s land tenure in the three countries, the study identifies multiple and somewhat interlinked ways in which differentiations exist in women’s land tenure. It achieved some key outcomes. The findings include a matrix of factors that differentiate women’s land access and tenure security, a visualisation of women’s differentiation in land tenure showing possible modes for actions, and an adaptable approach for operationalising women’s differentiation in land tenure policies (among others). Using these as evidence, it argues that women are a highly differentiated gender group, and the only thing homogenous in the three cases is that women are heterogeneous in their land tenure experiences. It concludes that an emphasis on how the differentiation among women allows for significant insight to emerge into how they experience tenure access differently is essential in improving the tenure security of women. Finally, it makes policy recommendations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Land, Land Use and Social Issues)
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