Land tenure relations, social relations and the analysis of spatial discontinuity


Igbozurike, M.U.

Area 6(2): 132-136

1974


Land tenure is a major social issue in any society, and may often be complicated by fragmentation. In this analysis a Relative Index of Land Parcellization (RILP) is described as being a comprehensible statistical tool for certain generalizations. While this is not an all embracing measure, the index has some validity for certain types of agrarian societies.

Land
tenure
relations,
social
relations
and
the
analysis
of
spatial
discontinuity
M.
Uzo
lgbozurike,
University
of
Nigeria,
Nsukka
Summary.
Land
tenure
is
a
major
social
issue,
often
complicated,
particularly
in
rural
and
agrarian
societies,
by
the
fragmented
layout
of
land
parcels
controlled
by
different
people
and
different
communities.
A
Relative
Index
of
Land
Parcellization
is
described—
a
readily
comprehensible
statistic
for
making
generalizations.
In
different
geographic
regions
at
different
times,
land
tenure
relations
have
often
led
to
pressures
which,
in
turn,
have
sometimes
culminated
in
major
military
emergencies,
of
which
the
United
Arab
Republic
and
Mexico
are
about
the
best
recent
examples.
1
These
pressures
have
been
for
a
change
in
the
economy
particularly
in
its
rural
sector,
in
the
administrative
leadership,
and
in
the
entire
social
structure,
with
expectations
from
the
change
being
almost
as
varied
as
the
population
subsets
expecting
the
change.
The
occurrence
of
these
pressures
is
easy
to
understand,
for
in
the
context
of
at
least
the
economically
less-developed
nations,
such
as
Nigeria,
there
is
a
close
interaction
between
land
tenure,
productivity,
income
distribution,
and
social
well-being.
2
As
Oweis
has
pointed
out,
'
The
land
tenure
system
defines
social
class
relations
more
fully
than
does
any
other
institution
in
most
of
the
world's
agrarian
countries
;
it
controls
or
at
least
limits
the
power
of
choice
and
action
of
individuals
and
families;
it
is
the
chief
means
of
rationing
economic
opportunity;
and
it
determines
the
interpersonal
distribution
of
production
and
income,
and
the
extent
to
which
general
economic
incentives
become
meaningful
to
the
farm
people
%
3
Measurement
of
spatial
discontinuity:
introduction
'
Land
tenure
relations
are
social
relations,
central
to
which
is
man's
relation
to
man
in
the
use
of
land
%
4
Fortunately,
there
is
copious
and
readily
available
literature
on
most
aspects
of
this
question
of
use
of
land.
All
the
same,
there
is
a
dearth
of
mathematical
formulae
of
practical
use
in
assessing
situations
where
a
land
owner
or
user
operates
simultaneously
several
disjunct
parcels
of
land.
This
is
true
of
the
rural
and
agricultural
as
well
as
the
urban
and
industrial
employment
of
land.
The
former
utilization
categories,
however,
are
moi
e
seriously
affected
by
this
methodological
shortcoming,
with
analyses
of
farm-
land
fragmentation
being
particularly
disadvantaged.
5
Land
parcellization
(i.e.
fragmentation),
the
causal
factors
of
which
may
be
broadly
grouped
into
three—physical,
socio-cultural,
and
operational—is
'
the
process
by
which
a
contiguous
block
of
land
is
split
into
two
or
more
parts.
'
The
separation
may
be
achieved
by
establishing
a
fence,
ridge,
or
other
type
of
delimiting
feature,
by
putting
different
segments
to
varying
uses,
or
by
saying
a
break-up
is
operative
and
behaving
in
such
a
manner
as
to
reflect
this
asser-
tion.
6
Parcellization
is
one
of
the
thorniest
issues
in
evaluating
land
and
life
in
the
countryside
and
in
assessing
the
profitability
of
actual
and
projected
132
Land
tenure
relations
133
uses
of
rural
land,
for
it
affects
the
cordiality
and
usefulness
of
relationships
(on
the
basis
of
land
distribution
and
ownership)
between
persons
and
com-
munities,
and
ultimately
the
viability
of
the
entire
rural
economy.'
Although
parcellization
is
a
major
social
and
economic
problem,
the
language
usually
employed
in
its
analysis
is
insufficiently
elaborate,
is
overwhelmingly
qualitative,
and
occasionally
amounts
to
a
series
of
disputable
generalizations
without
even
consistent
empirical
support.
Measurement
of
spatial
discontinuity
:
an
index
The
remainder
of
this
paper,
therefore,
discusses
an
elementary
but
useful
quantitative
measure
of
land
fragmentation
based
on
two
parameters.
One
is
the
total
distance
covered
by
the
land
user,
and
the
other
is
the
average
size
of
the
land
parcels
under
his
operatorship.
With
special
reference
to
spheres
of
activity
like
agriculture
and
forestry,
these
two
are
the
principal
variables
involved
in
the
study
of
spatial
disjunction.
But
it
is
correct
to
imagine
that
they
can
be
weighted
or
-upplemented
with
a
multitude
of
factors,
depending
upon
the
general
attributes
and
peculiarities
of
the
land
use
under
investigation
as
well
as
the
degree
of
analytical
refinement
in
which
the
investigator
is
inter-
ested.
These
factors
include
quantity
of
inputs
hauled
per
unit
of
distance
between
parcels,
deterioration
of
goods
and
risk
in
transit
as
a
function
of
length
and
duration
of
movement,
mode
of
travel
employed,
number
of
oper-
ators
engaged
in
the
movement,
specific
uses
or
use-matrices
assigned
to
each
land
fragment,
heterogeneity
of
land
quality
even
in
the
face
identical
uses,
susceptibility
to
or
likelihood
of
pilferage,
trespass,
or
neglect
with
increase
in
distance
between
parcels,
and
the
conflict
potential
of
far-removed
landed
property.
The
basic index
outlined
here
may
be
referred
to
as
the
Relative
Index
of
Land
Parcellization,
P
i
,
and
is
given
by
the
equation
1
D,
Pi—
100
Here,
D,
is
the
aggregate
distance
between
land
fragments
:
the
actual
total
distance
covered
by
the
operator
in
a
single
round
that
takes
him
to
all
his
parcels
;
and
s
represents
the
hectarage
of
each
parcel.
Instead
of
total
land
area,
average
parcel
size
is
used,
for
each
land
fragment
is
in
effect
a
separate
firm
or
establishment
especially
where
large
distances
are
involved.
(Where
there
is
no
fragmentation
P
i
=0).
Figure
1
gives
examples
from
the
agriculture
of
underdeveloped
regions
such
as
are
found
in
rural
Nigeria
and
the
rest
of
tropical
Africa.
(In
this
figure,
the
relative
locations
and
sizes
of
parcels
are
planimetrically
accurate,
but
for
purposes
of
cartographic
simplicity,
the
axes
of
movement
between
parcels
have
been
distorted
into
straight
lines.
In
reality,
these
axes
are
anything
but
straight,
for
the
farmers,
who
usually
move
about
on
foot,
donkey,
or
bicycle,
take
all
sorts
of
short
cuts
to
and
from
their
land
fragments.
Hence,
none
of
the
four
farm
diagrams
here
has
a
consistent
distance
scale).
The
four
farms,
I
to
IV,
have
P
i
values
of
0.015;
0.029;
0.058
and
0.029,
respectively.
Generally
speaking,
the
larger
the
dimension
of
an
operational
unit,
the
more
viable
and
stable
the
unit
is
likely
to
be.
Thus,
with
distances
remaining
identical
for
farms
I
and
II,
and
with
II
covering
a
smaller
area
of
land
than
does
I,
farm
II
134
Land
tenure
relations
T
2
1
8
1
6
3
4
4
2
TT
i
1
3
1
C
3
2
2
2
lii
I
2
4
2
3
6
2
4
2
IV
2
2
6
8
6
4
,
4
4
'
all
'
MINI
I
II'
(in
House
Other
Axes
of
Parcels
P
ar
cels
Movement
(Distance
in
Hectares)
(
in
Hectares)
Kilometres)
Figure
1.
Some
patterns
of
land
parcellization
in
an
underdeveloped
region.
has
a
bigger
fragmentation
index.
This
means
that
its
parcellization
problem
is
more
serious
than
that
encountered
in
I.
The
problem
is
even
worse
for
III
than
for
either
II
or
I.
Situation
IV
is
preferable
to
III
and
less
attractive
than
I.
It
is
characterized
by
the
same
index,
P
1
-0.029,
as
II,
because
both
the
parcel
size
and
the
distance
value
in
IV
are
precisely
double
the
figures
for
farm
A
3
20
95
110
loom'
200
400
160
95
.4111111...
11.1111.1116.
56.25
■■■
..r
110
200
200
Land
tenure
relations
135
What
distance
advantage
farm
II
could
have
had
over
holding
IV
would
be
counterbalanced
by
the
increased
average
size
of
farm
fragments
that
obtains
in
farm
IV.
An
idea
of
the
pattern
of
land
parcellization
often
encountered
in
the
econo-
mically
advanced
regions,
particularly
among
'
suitcase
'
farmers,
8
is
illustrated
by
Figure
2.
The
two
farms
shown
here
are
marked
by
very
large
parcel
sizes
and
very
long
intervening
distances,
in
which
respects
they
differ
sharply
from
the
cases
presented
in
Figure
1.
In
one
distributional
sense,
farm
A
of
Figure
2
is
comparable
to
farm
I
of
Figure
1,
while
B
is
comparable
to
II,
so
Figure
2.
Some
patterns
of
land
parcellization
in
an
economically
advanced
region.
(Legend
as
in
Figure
1).
136
Land
tenure
relations
that
it
is
easy
to
see
the
analytical
connection
between
Figures
1
and
2
and
the
P
i
index.
It
may
be
noted
that
while
the
concept
and
terminology
of
fragmentation
are
all
too
commonly
used
in
descriptions
of
the
agriculture
of
industrially
underdeveloped
countries,
they
are
hardly
ever
applied
in
characterizing
the
agriculture
of
developed
nations
even
in
situations,
which
are
by
no
means
uncommon,
where
farmland
in
the
latter
countries
is
fragmented.
This
descrip-
tive
bias
is
not
quite
justifiable.
It
must
be
admitted,
however,
that
farmland
parcellization
occurs
more
frequently
in
the
economically
less-developed
than
in
other
regions
of
the
world.
Nonetheless,
with
the
agriculture
of
the
advanced
nations
relying
so
heavily
on
fossil
fuels,
with
such
long
distances
involved
in
their
cases
of
land
fragmentation,
and
with
these
same
countries,
exemplified
by
the
United
States
of
America,
confronted
by
a
continuing
energy
crisis,
it
also
seems
valid
to
consider
this
significant
extra
dimension
of
the
problem
of
parcellization
in
the
developed
countries.
P
i
indices
can
also
be
computed
for
these
regions.
Conclusion
To
sum
up,
land
tenure
is
a
major
social
issue,
which,
particularly
in
rural
and
agrarian
societies,
is
often
complicated
by
the
fragmented
layout
of
land
parcels
controlled
by
different
persons
and
different
communities.
An
under-
standing
of
this
complication
rests
upon
an
understanding
of
fragmentation.
And
one
of
many
possible
refinements
in
the
analysis
of
fragmentation
is
the
Relative
Index
of
Land
Parcellization,
P
i
.
While
not
an
inflexible,
all-embracing
measure,
this
index
is
a
readily
comprehensible
statistic
which,
hopefully,
is
of
some
value
as
a
basis
for
making
generalizations.
References
—I!.
Parsons,
K.,
1959.
Land
reform
in
the
United
Arab
Republic.
Land
Economics,
35,
319-26;
Saab,
G.
S.,
1967.
The
Egyptian
agrarian
reform.
London:
Oxford
University
Press;
Fernan-
dez
y
Fernandez,
R.,
1965.
The
Mexican
agrarian
reform
:
background,
accomplishments
and
problems,
in
Lynn
Smith,
T.
(ed.),
1965.
Agrarian
reform
in
Latin
America.
New
York
:
Knopf,
153-66;
Vatikiotis,
P.
J.
(ed.),
1968.
Egypt
since
the
revolution.
New
York
:
Praeger.
2.
On
this
interrelationship,
Dorner,
P.,
1964.
Land
tenure,
income
distribution
and
productivity
interactions.
Land
Economics,
40,
247-
Schickele,
R.,
1941.
Effect
of
tenure
systems
on
agricultural
efficiency.
Journal
of
Farm
Economics,
23,
185-207;
Penn,
R.,
1962.
Understanding
the
pressures
for
land
reform,
in
Economic
developments
in
South
America.
Hearings
before
the
Subcommittee
on
Inter-American
Economic
Relationships
of
the
Joint
Economic
Committee,
87th
Congress
of
the
United
States
of
America,
Second
Session,
10
and
11
May
1962,
14-17.
3.
Oweis,
J.
S.,
1971.
The
impact
of
land
reform
on
Egyptian
agriculture
:
1952-1965.
Inter-
mountain
Economic
Review,
2,
45-72;
ref.
p.
45.
4.
Parsons,
K.
H.,
1956.
Land
reform
and
agricultural
development,
in
Parsons,
K.
H.,
Penn,
R.
J.
and
Raup,
P.
M.
(eds.),
Land
Tenure.
Madison:
University
of
Wisconsin
Press,
3-22;
ref.
p.
3.
5.
Igbozurike,
M.
U.,
1971.
Fragmentation
in
tropical
agriculture:
concept,
process,
result
.
A
Jamaican
Study
(Unpubl.
PhD
dissertation,
University
of
Florida,
Gainesville).
6.
Igbozurike,
M.
U.,
1970.
Fragmentation
in
tropical
agriculture
:
an
overrated
phenomenon.
The
Professional
Geographer,
22,
321-25.
7.
See,
for
instance,
Chisholm,
M.,
1962.
Rural
Settlement
and
Land
Use.
New
York
:
John
Wiley,
for
some
of
the
economic
implications
of
land
fragmentation.
8.
Higbee,
E.,
1958.
American
agriculture:
geography,
resources,
conservation,
New
York
:
John
Wiley,
p.
1:
Kollmorgen,
W.
and
Jenks,
G.
F.,
1958.
Suitcase
farming
in
Sully
County,
South
Dakota.
Ann.
Ass.
Am.
Geogr.
48,
27-40.