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

Rainforest on Fire

On the front lines of Bolsonaro's war on the Amazon, Brazil's forest communities fight against climate catastrophe.

A Life Against Dams (Spanish)

Indigenous peoples and ribereños in the southern Brazilian Amazon are mobilizing to prevent the invasion of more than 138 hydroelectric structures in the Juruena River watershed that would exacerbate deforestation metrics throughout the region.

Bullet Ant Ritual: Indigenous Group Prepares to Reoccupy Land (Portuguese)

In February, a team of journalists traveled to the Amazon to spend time with the Sateré-Mawé, documenting their culture and their longstanding conflicts with mining companies and land thieves. Their series of reports examines the new threats posed to the Sateré and Indigenous groups throughout Brazil in the face of President Jair Bolsonaro's pro-ruralist policies.

A Journey Through Contested Lands: Tanzania

A moving photo essay about the Maasai in northeast Tanzania, who are struggling to make a living on ancestral lands that the government keeps trying to take away.

A Journey Through Contested Lands: Honduras

Real estate investors are violating the hard-fought land rights of the Garífuna, an Afro-Caribbean community in Honduras whose unique and endangered culture has been recognized by UNESCO.

A Journey Through Contested Lands: Azerbaijan

In Azerbaijan, Emin Özmen captures a story of assimilation: the integration of the Talysh, with their distinct and sometimes fading traditions, into a country asserting its national identity.

Meet the Journalist: Fred Pearce

200 environmental and human rights activists are assassinated each year, according to Global Witness. Fred Pearce investigates the headline-grabbing slayings of three of these activists.

Meet the Journalist: Joshua Kucera

Joshua Kucera traveled along the conventional border between Europe and Asia, from Istanbul's Bosphorus to the Russian Arctic—reporting on the people who live between East and West.

This Week: Kingdom of Women

This Week: A village in China where women rule, an island off British Columbia was supposed to be an economic salvation, and illegal mining is causing problems for Venezuela.

This Week: Botched Land Grab Along the Border

This week: A land grab at the U.S.-Mexico border reveals how the government might go about building the wall, a history of land grabs by the government are revealed by a laundry list of treaties with American Indian nations, and the women taking on military duty in the Central African Republic.