Agency shifts in agricultural land governance and their implications for land degradation neutrality | Land Portal

Resource information

Date of publication: 
January 2021
Resource Language: 
ISBN / Resource ID:
Copyright details: 
Open Access, this refers to access without restrictions, and without financial incentives. Access to the resource is gained directly, without any obstacles. From info:eu-repo/semantics/openAccess

Given current land degradation trends, Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN, SDG Target 15.3) by 2030 could be difficult to attain. Solutions to avoid, reduce, and reverse land degradation are not being implemented at sufficiently large scales, pointing to land governance as the main obstacle. In this paper, we review dynamics in agricultural land governance, and the potential this may have to enable land degradation or provide solutions towards LDN. The literature reveals agency shifts are taking place, where value chain actors are given increasing decision-making power in land governance. These agency shifts are manifested in two interrelated trends: First, through agricultural value chain coordination, such as contract farming, value chain actors increasingly influence land management decisions. Second, international large-scale land acquisitions and domestic larger-scale farms, both instances of intensified direct involvement of value chain with land management, are overtaking significant areas of land. These new arrangements are associated with agricultural expansion, and are additionally associated with unsustainable land management due to absent landowners, short-term interests, and high-intensity agriculture. However, we also find that value chain actors have both the tools and business cases to catalyze LDN solutions. We discuss how governments and other LDN brokers can motivate or push private actors to deploy private governance measures to avoid, reduce, and reverse land degradation. Successful implementation of LDN requires refocusing efforts to enable and, where necessary, constrain all actors with agency over land management, including value chain actors.

Authors and Publishers

Author(s), editor(s), contributor(s): 

Debonne, Niels
van Vliet, Jasper
Metternicht, Graciela
Verburg, Peter
Environmental Geography

Data provider

National Academic Research and Collaborations Information System (NARCIS) is the main Dutch national portal for those looking for information about researchers and their work. NARCIS aggregates data from around 30 institutional repositories. Besides researchers, NARCIS is also used by students, journalists and people working in educational and government institutions as well as the business sector.


Share this page