Issue

Land and Property Rights

Across the globe, rising demand for food, energy and natural resources such as timber, water, and minerals, has created enormous pressures on land— and access to it. Vast tracts of land are being snatched up by both public and private investors; most frequently in low-income and middle-income countries. The impact of these often secretive land deals on local communities is huge.

In frontier markets, where property rights are weak, unclear, or poorly governed, there is an increased likelihood of corruption, human rights abuses, conflict over resources, and environmental degradation. And it is often the most vulnerable groups, including minorities, indigenous people, the poor, and women, who bear the brunt of the problems created by poor land governance.

To investigate this growing crisis, Pulitzer Center-funded journalists are following stories that will increase transparency about land deals, expose weak land governance systems, and highlight the risks to stakeholders who invest in bad land deals. Their reporting illuminates fresh, new approaches to securing land rights that might promote, rather than erode, local development priorities.

The Pulitzer Center’s reporting on land rights issues is made possible through the support of the Omidyar Network's Property Rights Initiative, American Jewish World Service, the Kendeda Fund, and other Pulitzer Center donors.

 

 

 

 

Land and Property Rights

June 04, 2015

From Paradise to Peril: The Amazon's Isolated Tribes

Heather Pringle, Andrew Lawler

Some of the world’s last isolated tribes are poised to make contact with the outside world as illegal loggers, miners, cocaine traffickers and others penetrate their territory.

April 14, 2015

What Came of Libya’s ‘Land Grab’ in Mali?

Chris Arsenault

In 2009, Libya bought 100,000 hectares of prime territory in Mali in what critics consider a "land grab". With both countries facing instability: who controls the farm land now?

January 27, 2015

The Megacity Initiative

John Fitzgerald, Matthew Niederhauser

The Megacity Initiative is a new media venture investigating the sustainable development of burgeoning urban centers around the world in order to more prudently integrate future city dwellers.

January 13, 2015

Canaan: Haiti's Promised Land

Allison Shelley, Jacob Kushner, Mark Fahey

In post-earthquake Haiti, a new city is rising in what was once an empty landscape. Biblically named Canaan, it will soon be Haiti’s third-largest urban center.

December 04, 2014

Hispaniola's Unsteady Land

Jacob Kushner, Allison Shelley

On the island of Hispaniola, conflict over land is putting people’s future on unsteady ground.

November 17, 2014

Colombia: Palm Oil and Paramilitaries

Gabe Silverman, Nick Miroff

Colombia’s fast growing palm oil industry has been a boon to its economy. But behind it is a fight for land as farmers backed by paramilitaries push into indigenous and Afro-Colombian communities.

While Reporting "The Taking," Another Scandal

A local political power broker. A shady contract that poured taxpayer money into his pocket—and his family’s pockets. Our initial digging on the main project unearthed another important story.

Atlantic Conquest

A highway across indigenous territories is the first phase of a project that threatens one of the last primary forest reserves in the Mesoamerican Biological Corridor.  How is it that a Dutch businessman is about to achieve what Christopher Columbus could not?

Finding Border Landowners Was Harder Than Expected

Starting with hundreds of cases, we reached out to dozens of property owners who lost land for the border fence. Some had died, some deflected questions to lawyers, and many just didn’t want to talk to us.

Meet the Journalist: Chris Arsenault

What happens when investors look for land deals in Africa? Journalist Chris Arsenault looks at what is happening to the Libyan government's 100,00 hectare land grab in Mali.