The Chinese central government has consistently taken decisive legal and policy measures over the past 35 years to secure, enhance, and expand farmers’ rights to farmland and forest land in order to reduce the gap in income and consumption between urban citizens and their counterparts in mountainous forest areas. While encouraging development of a forest land rights market to facilitate market allocation of resources, these legal rules and policy directives have particularly emphasized protecting farmers’ forest land rights and their property interests when such land rights are subject to acquisition by powerful enterprises.
Among these powerful players in China’s forest land rights markets are multinational forest companies, including Asia Pulp and Paper Co. Ltd (APP). APP has leased large areas of collectively owned forest land to build eucalyptus plantations to provide timber for its paper and wood products.
In order to understand how APP carried out land acquisition and to what extent its land acquisition was propelled by local governments, researchers from Landesa, an international land laws and policy institute, conducted intensive field research using the Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA) method in Guangxi and Yunnan provinces in February and September 2013, in collaboration with Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI).
The report provides a comprehensive review of existing laws, regulations, and central policies on farmers’ land rights and the transfer of these rights. A series of recommendations are offered to improve APP’s land acquisition practices.