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

How Much Are You Overpaying in Property Tax?

When Palmer Square, LLC recently wanted to sell their apartment building, they went through all the usual hoops that most homeowners are familiar with. But selling the property outright would have cost $65,000 in conveyance fee taxes, and annual property tax would bump up an additional $309,000 dollars per year.

Powering a Conflict

While Tatmadaw and Kachin Independence Army (KIA) soldiers face off in a long-running conflict in Myanmar, a company owned by the KIA has been profiting from the sale of power to government-controlled townships.

The Wampis: First Indigenous Autonomous Government in Peru Fights Back Against Deforestation (Spanish)

The Wampis Nation is made up of thousands of people whose ancestors have lived in the Amazon rainforest in the north of Peru for centuries. Increasing raids from loggers, miners, and those searching for fossil fuels, in addition to political changes that favor industrial exploitation of natural resources, have left the Wampis more and more worried about the future of their home.

Beyond Myitsone

While national attention in Myanmar remains focused on the Myitsone dam, six other mega-dams north of the Ayeyarwady River could be constructed if conflict between the Tatmadaw and KIO is resolved.

Cafe Tekoa

What happens when a left-leaning Israeli filmmaker settles in a West-Bank settlement?

India's 'Compensatory' Forests

India is addressing deforestation by creating thousands of 'compensatory afforestation' projects. But is this big-ticket scheme a greenwash and a land grab?

Meet the Journalist: Mark O'Connell

Mark O'Connell travels to New Zealand to investigate how an extremist libertarian manifesto from 1997 influenced Silicon Valley libertarians like Peter Thiel to acquire apocalypse boltholes in New Zealand.

Meet the Journalist: Jonas Bendiksen

Photographer Jonas Bendiksen traveled to Greenland to visualize its demographic challenges: As more women than men leave to study or live abroad, there are fewer than nine women for every 10 men.

Timbs v. Indiana, Explained

Timbs v. Indiana was a case involving civil asset forfeiture decided by the U.S. Supreme Court in 2019. It is a significant step toward judicial reform of civil asset forfeiture practices.