Land tenure (in)security and investment in sustainable agricultural practices by small-scale farmers in the Chaco Salteño

Tschopp, Maurice Nicolas; Ceddia, Michele Graziano; Bardsley, Nick; Inguaggiato, Carla; Hernandez, Hernan (2019). Land tenure (in)security and investment in sustainable agricultural practices by small-scale farmers in the Chaco Salteño (Unpublished). In: 4th Open Science Meeting of Global Land Programme. Bern, Switzerland. 26 April 2019.

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Recently, the Argentinian Chaco has experienced profound transformations of land use and land governance, often at the expense of indigenous communities and smallholders. Small-scale “criollos” farmers rely on livestock herding within the Chaco forest as their main livelihood. They are however threatened by the advances of the agricultural frontier and the deforestation process. Large-scale soy plantations, as well as cattle companies are the primary drivers of this land-use change and have contributed significantly to deforestation in recent years. This has caused displacement of indigenous communities and small-scale criollos cattle farmers, with consequent increased pressure on remaining forests. Most smallholders do not have formal land titles, and are often “occupying” privately owned lands, and are hence under the threat of being evicted. On the other hand, a minority of smallholders does possess formal land rights, or have signed an agreement with the landlords. This paper will address the complex relationship between land tenure security and investment in sustainable land use practices by smallholders. We will present results from a household survey conducted with smallholders from the Chaco salteño (n=550), as well as different statistical models (multinomial logit and probit models) that explore the influence of land tenure security on investments in “sustainable“ agricultural practices by smallholders. Other explanatory variables considered in the models include the socio-economic profiles of the household (e.g. education and income), social capital and current conflicts over access to land, as well as adoptions choices of their network of family and friends. An extensive literature claims that land tenure security oftentimes corresponds to higher investments by farmers, including in sustainable agricultural practices. We discuss whether the land tenure security hypothesis is verified in the case of the Chaco salteño. Further, we highlight potential obstacles for the recognition of land rights of smallholders and discuss why there are so few smallholders that are involved in a land recognition process. We conclude by showing how these two issues have to be addressed together in the current debate on land use change and sustainable management of native forests.

Item Type:

Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)


10 Strategic Research Centers > Centre for Development and Environment (CDE)

UniBE Contributor:

Tschopp, Maurice Nicolas; Ceddia, Michele Graziano and Inguaggiato, Carla


[1088] Indigenous Communities, Lans USe and Tropical Deforestation
[804] Socio-Economic Transition
[805] Sustainability Governance




Stephan Schmidt

Date Deposited:

29 Aug 2019 16:28

Last Modified:

29 Aug 2019 16:28

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