Indigenous communities find themselves at the losing end of socio-economic changes taking place in diverse contexts of development. Changes in property rights to land and related resources such as forests and water have universally had adverse effects on their livelihoods, which are almost absolutely dependent on these resources and the ecosystems to which they belong. The historical processes behind these changes have their political, economic and cultural specificities. A deep understanding of transitions in property rights in the traditional habitations of indigenous communities is crucial in capturing these specificities and the socio-economic consequences of the changes. Property rights could be described as the set of economic and social relations that define the position of each individual with respect to the utilization of a resource (Furubotn and Pejovich 1972).
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