Current research projects

'Indigenous Peoples' and Land: Comparing Communal Land Titling and its Implications in Cambodia and Laos

By Ian G. Baird
In 2001 a new Land Law was adopted in Cambodia. It was significant because - for the first time - it recognised a new legal category of people, 'Indigenous Peoples' or chuncheat daoem pheak tech in Khmer, and it also introduced the legal concept of communal land rights to Cambodia. Indigenous Peoples are not mentioned in the 1993 constitution of Cambodia or any legislation pre-dating the 2001 Land Law. However, Cambodia's 2002 Forestry Law also followed the trend by recognising 'Indigenous Peoples.' These laws have been both symbolically and practically important, as they have provided government-mandated legitimacy to Indigenous identities and associated land and forest rights, including communal land rights, and have been ontologically significant in dividing Indigenous and non-Indigenous Peoples on legal grounds. Over a decade after the 2001 Land Law was promulgated, this article considers some aspects of its effects. In particular, when compared with the potential for developing communal land rights in Laos, one has to wonder how advantageous it is to adopt Indigenous identities and the types of communal land rights and community forestry rights presently possible in Cambodia. Read the full report.

The LAND Project: Global environment, local livelihoods

By Mike Bell
The LAND (Livelihood, Agroecology, Nutrition, and Development) Project is building a greener future for the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa through an agroecological approach that brings prosperity and health to both people and the land. Indeed, the area has high levels of erosion, ecological disruption, poverty, poor nutrition, and infectious disease, a paradox of scarcity in what could be a land of plenty. The LAND project seeks to end this paradox. The collaborators work through participatory processes that engage local people with expertise and resources from scientists, development professionals, and students from South Africa and the United States. The projects places special focus on the lives of women and children, while not neglecting the needs and skills of men. Learn more about the LAND project.

The Field Diaries: Findings from Field Research in Nathepo-A and Inkomati (Nampula, Mozambique), 2010-2013

by Brad Paul
The Field Diaries are daily journals recorded by forestry plantation nursery workers and village residents in northern Mozambique. They provide useful information about habits, customs, recreation, land, work and social life, and farming practices. The Field Diaries feature the "voice" of farmers, workers, managers, and community members alike and are given further visual representation through the photography of project participants themselves. They give expression to what is important to people in their everyday life and are further strengthened by placing them within a broader context of documentary evidence which considers real development impact. To Learn more about the Field Diaries project, read the full report.