Understanding Land Tensure System

Understanding Land Tensure System

Land tensure system is the relationship that people or groups hold regarding land-based resources. The rules define ways through which property rights are transferred, allocated and used within a particular society. When land rights become secure, then it becomes a cornerstone for better economic growth.

While different societies have unlike land tensure systems, each system bears unique rules making it impossible for a single system of governance to be universally applied. The policy defines who holds and uses the resource, for how long and under what rules. Land tensure may vary with gender, political affiliation and ethnicity.

The system has its advantages and disadvantages. Customary systems based on unwritten, traditional and locally relevant rules regarding the allocation and use of land might not withstand the increasing pressure on land from written legal rules. State land ownership on the same can withhold property for public management and facilitate equal access to prime areas. However, it can also lead to poor land management outcomes due to bureaucratic and corruption.

For sustainable and inclusive land governance, land systems need to be evaluated holistically. This means understanding why and how decisions on natural resources and land are made, enforced and implemented. This includes both informal and recognized settings.