What Is Land Tenure?

Land tenure is closely related to culture. It is the cultural and legal relationship among groups of individuals with respect to land and all related resources – water rights, underground minerals, surface rights, pastures, trees, and so on.

Tenure rules define property rights, which is fundamental to economic growth and society development. When these rules are not safe, this leads to confusion, instability, and economic uncertainties. Investment goes to other places and there are less jobs, more conflicts, and higher levels of poverty.

Different countries end up fostering different cultures, and, therefore, different tenure systems. Emphasis on individual ownership increases efficient use in economic terms, but also leads to the rich getting richer. On the other hand, public ownership allows for conservation purposes and equal opportunities of access, at the cost of less effective use and an increase in corruption opportunities.