The Invisible Line : Land Reform, Land Tenure Security and Land Registration book cover
1st Edition

The Invisible Line
Land Reform, Land Tenure Security and Land Registration

ISBN 9781138258709
Published October 19, 2016 by Routledge
240 Pages

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Book Description

During the past two decades, there has been a resurgence of interest in issues of land reform in developing and transitional countries. This has been initiated by the large-scale re-distributive activities in former communist countries and by the growing number of claims by displaced indigenous population groups to restore their rights to land. This book provides a timely and clear overview of the historical and theoretical context of current land reform and tenure issues. Illustrated with global case studies from Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, key sections explore land and rights to land, property, land tenure and reform, and land registration. Beginning by discussing the need to demarcate space by creating 'invisible lines' - which give certainty to what extent authority over land can be established - the book then explores legal and theoretical definitions of 'land' and 'property' and looks at the various different policies and forms of land tenure. One of the most recent developments in land reform policy has been to look to traditional forms of access to land and of resource conservation. The book argues that, while such policies on land property rights have great potential, they are best being adopted in a long-term, incremental way. It also shows how land policy reforms must be embedded in institutional and general policy reforms, complemented by rural development and educational opportunities for beneficiaries. The book summarises the main principles of land reform activities and practices and argues that the perception of land tenure security is the most critical factor of success to land reform.

Table of Contents

Contents: Invisible lines; Land and rights to land; Property; Land tenure; Land reform; Land registration; Specific aspects of land registration; Bibliography; Glossary; Index; Annex A.

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Dr Henri A.L. Dekker is a Senior Consultant for Land Tenure and Real Property Data Management.


’For decades, land reform consultants visited developing countries to shop around with uniform and rather technical schemes to improve agrarian production by means of private ownership and western registration of title. The string of failures of this recipe shocked the author of this book, himself a life long expert in land title registration. His practical mind and his deep concern for the poor urged him to completely rethink land reform, by taking local variety of tenure, including communal (customary) tenure, as a starting point and by going for flexible approaches. The book shows a happy combination of concern, practical experience and scholarly debate, mixed together to show us how land tenure, law and registration can better meet the great challenge of today, finding news ways to promote food security for the poor.’ A.J. Hoekema, University of Amsterdam, Netherlands ’Dekker provides a comprehensive treatment of one of the most controversial topics in the literature on socioeconomic development-land reform. It is important reading for anyone concerned with issues of equity and economic efficiency in development. Those overly enthusiastic about the promise of land reform will be sobered by the reality of past failures. However, those who see no need to promote broad-based socioeconomic development will find their beliefs challenged. Dekker provides a refreshingly even handed and balanced approach.’ Professor Stanley R. Thompson, Ohio State University, USA ’...the most comprehensive treatise of various aspects of land tenure, land reform and land registration available...the book is written clearly and comprehensively...a welcome addition with a great deal of information on a subject that is very important although many people are unfamiliar with is a fine book and will hopefully be widely distributed and read by many people.’ Quarterly Journal of International Agriculture ’Though its breadth and analysis make it valuable to anyone inte