Asian Journal of Environment and Disaster Management (AJEDM)

Volume 5 Number 4 (2013)

doi: 10.3850/S1793924013000072

Land Ownership, Land Use, and Afforestation in Timor-Leste: Towards a New Land Claim System

Mami Sato1 and Yosuke Yamashiki2
1Department of International Studies, Graduate School of Frontier Science, University of Tokyo, 5-1-1, Kashiwanoha, Kashiwa-shi, Chiba, 277-8563, Japan.
2Graduate School of Advanced Integrated Studies in Human Survivability, Kyoto University, 2F Konoe Building, 69, Yoshidakonoe-cho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto, 606-8501, Japan.


Eleven years has passed since the independence of Timor-Leste.Throughout this time the country has gained stability in both government and security. However, the unresolved land issues are likely to lead to conflict in the future. At present, the Land Law has not yet been established due to a complex history of land tenure policies from the past post-colonization and the effects of the independence conflict. In the absence of a Land Law, the customary law forms the basis of land ownership claims in the rural areas of Timor-Leste, where the land cadastral has not yet reached. As the tree plantation is one of the means to claim land ownership in customary law, tree plantations are a difficult task to implement. Thus, this paper aims to propose a new land claim system the can operate alongside of the customary law. This will provide clarification of land ownership in rural areas and in mountainous areas, and will enhance agricultural activity through promoting afforestation/reforestation.

Keywords: Land ownership, Land user, Land lease, Ground rent, Afforestation/ reforestation, Agroforestry.

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