State Leasehold and Mayan Customary Cultivation Rights in Belize

Clark, Charles (2000) State Leasehold and Mayan Customary Cultivation Rights in Belize. Society & Natural Resources: An International Journal, 13 (1). pp. 15-32.

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    Fears of ensuing losses of biodiversity and indigenous cultures raise important issues concerning land and development policies in indigenous communities living at the margins of protected forest reserves. Understanding the evolution of interactions between state land tenure institutions, customary land practices, and environmental changes provides insight for the maintenance of both forest habitat and native cultures. The case history of the Masewal (Yucatec Maya) village of San Antonio (Cayo), Belize, is presented because its lack of an active land market allows direct associations to be drawn between governmental land policies and customary practices. The Belizean state leasehold tenure system, implemented in the 1960s to support Masewal control over ancestral lands, has become a negative social influence leading to land underutilization, supporting rapid forest conversion to pasture land and increasing village differentiation in household access to traditional natural resources. A new form of land tenure may be needed if natural resources and Masewal culture are to be protected.

    Item Type: Peer-reviewed Journal Article
    Related URLs:
      Unique ID or DOI: 10.1080/089419200279216
      Publisher: Taylor & Francis
      Keywords: agricultural intensification, cultural integration, forest conservation,indigenous rights, land tenure evolution, Maya, state leasehold, tropical deforestation
      Subjects: (Z) Other or Unspecified
      Publication Sources: (3) Other Source > (3C) Other Universities
      Date Deposited: 07 Nov 2013 14:19
      Last Modified: 02 Sep 2014 17:01

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