Does Tenure Security Enhance Sustainable Land Use?: Case Studies of Mountainous Regions of Thailand and Vietnam (in English)
Chapika Sangkapitux and Andreas Neef
Although a number of studies suggest that land tenure security plays an important role in determining long-term investment for sustainable land use in terms of soil conservation practices and tree planting, the case studies from Thailand and Vietnam presented in this paper show contrasting results. Although ethnic minority groups in mountainous regions of Thailand and Vietnam are disadvantaged with regard to access to permanent land use rights, long-term investments in land resources are common practice. Minority farmers in watershed areas of Northern Thailand where agriculture is in conflict with the reforestation policy of the Thai government react to increasing tenure insecurity by planting fruit trees and other perennials, by converting rainfed land into paddy fields, and by applying erosion control measures. Similar responses can be observed in mountainous regions of Vietnam. Upland farmers in Bac Can province adopt soil conservation practices mainly to obtain log-term land use certificates. In contrast, intensive land utilization under monocrop cultivation without soil conservation practices is found in Son La province where land use rights are relatively secure. This paper concludes that the relationship between tenure security and long-term investments should not be viewed as monodirectional. Long-term investments can occur under extremely insecure tenure regimes as they increase farmers perceived tenure security. On the other hand, improved tenure security does not automatically lead to high long-term investments and to more sustainable land use.
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