ABSTRACTED FROM SUMMARY: Many ethnic groups practice a system of land use and resource management which is uniquely adapted for upland areas. This has developed over generations as part of traditional ways of life, and is underpinned through ritual and customary practices. This study looks at how women’s land and property rights are established and maintained under these customary or traditional tenure systems. Five different ethnic groups were studied: Brao, Trieng, Hmong, Khmu and Tai Dam. The study concludes that changes in land policies and legislation have over time detached people from many customary practices, land use and resource management that supported rural communities, ensured food sufficiency, and enabled a level of ability to meet basic material needs. This has resulted in declining productivity of upland agricultural systems, declining productivity of and access to non-timber forest products (NTFPs), arable land shortages, and disintegration of customary labour exchange.
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The purpose of the Mekong Land Research Forum online site is to provide structured access to published and unpublished research on land issues in the Mekong Region. It is based on the premise that debates and decisions around land governance can be enhanced by drawing on the considerable volume of research, documented experience and action-based reflection that is available.