Human survival now depends on managing all lands on the planet in service of the most ambitious undertaking in history. Due to climate change, countries are making commitments to protect the land – governments through the Paris climate agreement and ‘green recovery’ packages are adding a significant set of public liabilities and supporting an ‘ecological transition’ – that will depend entirely on land.
We must put land back where it belongs, at the heart of our economy. Policymakers and economists must recognize that the economic treatment of land is inadequate and must be treated differently than other forms of capital. Many countries have been and are digitizing their land registries. With this, they aim to standardize and integrate information relating to existing lands and their natural resources on them to optimize sustainable land governance. Land governance helps formalize individual land ownership through a simplified, economic, speedy land regularization process.
The logic is to standardize data collection through an integrated system that contains geo-referenced satellite data on land, updates on land-use change, and digitized land documents. Potentially, geospatial technologies, along with disruptive techs such as AI, IoT, and Digital Twins, can help identify illegally appropriated land, recover it, and allocate land for agrarian reform.