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.

Bolsonaro and the Brazilian Amazon

Under the presidency of Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s indigenous communities are bracing for an escalation of repression, encroachment, and displacement throughout the Amazon and the rainforest frontier.

Taken: How Police Profit From Seized Property

A data-driven look at the impact of civil asset forfeiture reform laws throughout the Midwest.

For-Profit Policing in Kentucky

Kentucky has some of the weakest laws in the country when it comes to protecting property from seizure. The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting examines why law enforcement is seizing so much property—and who's suffering.

Meet the Journalist: Estacio Valoi

Oxpeckers Investigative Environmental Journalism's Estacio Valoi discusses Kruger's contested borderlands and how he overcame the challenges of reporting in a remote zone by using new media tools.

Meet the Journalist: Guido Bilbao

Panama is facing a serious environmental threat. Investigations have revealed a serious threat to Panama's natural resources that impacts the country's environment and people.