Jon Unruh

Jon Unruh is an Associate Professor of Geography at McGill University. His research, applied, and policy work over the past 20 years has dealt with post-conflict land and property rights in the developing world, and the intersection of land tenure and environmental change. His past endeavors have focused on conflict resolution, land policy and law, restitution, legal pluralism, approaches to reconciling customary and formal tenure systems, and agriculture in postwar and peace-building scenarios. His experience includes work in Sudan, Liberia, Somalia, Mozambique, East Timor, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Zanzibar, Ethiopia, Uganda, Madagascar, and Colombia.



Forthcoming Co-editor (with C. Bruch, D. Jensen and M. Nakayama), Post-conflict Peacebuilding and Natural Resource Management. London: Earthscan.

Forthcoming Co-editor (with R. Williams), Land and Post-conflict Peacebuilding. London: Earthscan.

2004 Co-editor (with M.S. Krol and N. Kliot), Environmental Change and its Implications for Population Migration. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

Refereed Journal Articles

Forthcoming “Land and legality in the Darfur conflict.” African Security

2012 J.D. Unruh and M. Shalaby, “A volatile interaction between peacebuilding priorities: road infrastructure (re)construction and land rights in Afghanistan.” Progress in Development Studies 12: 47-61.

2012 “Eviction policy in postwar Angola.” Land Use Policy 29: 661-663.

2012 “The interaction between landmine clearance and land rights in Angola: a volatile outcome of non-integrated peacebuilding.” Habitat International: A Journal for the Study of Human Settlements 36: 117-125.

2011 J. Unruh and A. Corriveau-Bourque, “Volatile landscapes: the impact of explosive remnants of war on land rights in conflict affected countries.” Journal of Peace, Conflict and Development 18:

2011 “Land rights and peacebuilding: challenges and responses.” International Journal of Peace Studies 15: 89-125.

2010 A. Green and J. Unruh, “Clean development mechanism afforestation and reforestation projects: implications for local agriculture.” CAB Reviews: Perspectives in Agriculture, Veterinary Science, Nutrition and Natural Resources 5: 1-11. (Invited)

2010 “Tree-based carbon storage in developing countries: neglect of the social sciences.” Society and Natural Resources 24.2: 185-192.

2010 J. Unruh, W. McConnell and J. Rodman, “Environmental change and adaptation in degraded agro-ecosystems: the case of highland Madagascar.” Area 42: 359-368.

2009 C. Bruch, D. Jensen, M. Nakayama, J. Unruh, R. Gruby and R. Wolfarth, “Post-conflict peacebuilding and natural resources.” Yearbook of International Environmental Law 19: 58-96.

2009 “Catalyzing the socio-legal space for armed conflict: land and legal pluralism in pre-war Liberia.” Journal of Legal Pluralism and Unofficial Law 58: 1-32.

2009 L. Brottem and J. Unruh, “Territorial tensions: rainforest conservation, post-conflict recovery and land tenure.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 99: 995-1002.

2009 J. Unruh and J. Bailey, “Management of spatially extensive natural resources in postwar contexts: working with the peace process.” GeoJournal 74: 159-173.

2009 “Land rights in postwar Liberia: the volatile part of the peace process.” Land Use Policy 26: 425-433.

2008 “Land policy reform, customary rule of law and the peace process in Sierra Leone.” African Journal of Legal Studies 2: 94-117.

2008 “Carbon sequestration in Africa: the land tenure problem.” Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 18: 700-707.

2008 E.J. Frank and J.D. Unruh, “Demarcating forest, containing disease: land and HIV/AIDS in Southern Zambia.” Population and Environment 29: 108-132.

2008 “Toward sustainable livelihoods after war: reconstituting rural land tenure systems.” Natural Resources Forum 32: 103-115.

2007 “Urbanization in the developing world and the acutely tenure insecure.” City: Analysis of Urban Trends, Culture, Theory, Policy, Action 11: 115-120.

2007 J. Guyer, E. Lambin, L. Cliggett, P. Walker, K. Amanor, T. Bassett, E. Colson, R. Hay, K. Homewood, O. Linares, O. Pabi, P. Peters, T. Scudder, M. Turner and J. Unruh, “Temporal heterogeneity in the study of African land use: interdisciplinary collaboration between anthropology, human geography and remote sensing.” Human Ecology 35: 3-17.

2007 L. Cligget, E. Coleson, R. Hay, T. Scudder and J. Unruh, “Chronic uncertainty and momentary opportunity: a half century of adaptation among Zambia’s Gwembe Tonga.” Human Ecology 35: 19-31.

2007 “Postwar resource tenure issues in the settlement of Sudan ‘s dislocated population.” Journal of Northeast African Studies 9: 1-10.

2006 “Land tenure and the ‘evidence landscape’ in developing countries.” Annals of the Association of American Geographers 96: 754-772.

2006 N. Vogt, J. Bahati, J. Unruh, G. Green, A. Banana, W. Gombya-Ssembajjwe and S. Sweeny, “Integrating remote sensing data and rapid appraisals for land-cover change analyses in Uganda.” Land Degradation and Development 17: 31-43.

2005 “Changing conflict resolution institutions in the Ethiopian pastoral commons: the role of armed confrontation in rule-making.” GeoJournal 64: 225-237.

2005 “Property restitution laws in a post-war context: the case of Mozambique.” African Journal of Legal Studies 3: 147-165.

2005 J.D. Unruh, L. Cligget, R. Hay, “Migrant land rights reception and ‘clearing to claim’ in Sub-Saharan Africa: A deforestation example from southern Zambia.” Natural Resources Forum 29: 190-198.

2004 B.G. Mulley and J.D. Unruh, “The role of off-farm employment in tropical forest conservation: labor, migration, and smallholder attitudes toward land in western Uganda.” Journal of Environmental Management 71: 193-205.

2003 J.D. Unruh, N.C. Heynen and P. Hossler, “The political ecology of recovery from armed conflict: the case of landmines in Mozambique.” Political Geography 22: 841-861.

2003 “Land tenure and legal pluralism in the peace process.” Peace and Change: A Journal of Peace Research 28: 352-376.

2002 “Poverty and property rights in the developing world: not as simple as we would like.” Land Use Policy 19: 275-276.

2002 “Local land tenure in the peace process.” Peace Review 14: 337-342.

2001 “Postwar land dispute resolution: land tenure and the peace process in Mozambique.” International Journal of World Peace 18: 3-30.

2000 C.F. Hutchinson, J.D. Unruh and C.J. Bahre, “Land use vs. climate change as causes of vegetation change: a study in SE Arizona.” Global Environmental Change: Human and Policy Dimensions 10: 47-55.

1998 “Land tenure and identity change in postwar Mozambique.” GeoJournal 46: 89-99. (Invited)

1997 “The role of land conflict and land conflict resolution in a peace process: Mozambique’s return to agriculture.” Refuge 16: 28-33.

1995 J.D. Unruh, P.A. Lefebvre, “A spatial database approach for estimating areas suitable for agroforestry in Africa.” Agroforestry Systems 32: 81-96.

1995 “The relationship between indigenous pastoralist resource tenure and state tenure in Somalia.” GeoJournal 36: 19-26.

1995 “Post-conflict recovery of African agriculture: The role of ‘critical resource’ tenure.” Ambio 24: 343-350.

1995 “Agroforestry, reforestry and the carbon problem: the role of land and tree tenure.” Interdisciplinary Science Reviews 20: 215-228.

1994 “The role of land use pattern and process in the diffusion of valuable tree species.” Journal of Biogeography 21: 283-295.

1993 “Restocking refugee pastoralists in the Horn of Africa.” Disasters 17: 305-320.

1993 “An acacia -based design for sustainable livestock carrying capacity on irrigated farmlands in semi-arid East Africa.” Ecological Engineering 2: 131-148.

1993 “Refugee resettlement on the Horn of Africa: the integration of host and refugee land use Patterns.” Land Use Policy 10: 49-66.

1993 J.D. Unruh, R.A. Houghton and P.A. Lefebvre, “Carbon storage in agroforestry: an estimate for sub-Saharan Africa.” Special issue of Climate Research 3: 39-52.

1993 R.A. Houghton, J.D. Unruh and P.A. Lefebvre, “Current land use in the tropics and its potential for sequestering carbon.” Global Biogeochemical Cycles 7: 305-320.

1991 “Nomadic pastoralism and irrigated agriculture in Somalia: utilization of existing land use patterns in designs for multiple access of ‘high potential’ areas of semi-arid Africa.” GeoJournal 25: 91-108.

1991 “Canopy structure in natural and agroforest successions in Amazonia.” Tropical Ecology 32: 168-181.

1990 “Integration of transhumant pastoralism and irrigated agriculture in semi-arid East Africa.” Human Ecology 18: 223-246.

1990 “Iterative increase of economic tree species in managed swidden-fallows of the Amazon.” Agroforestry Systems 11: 175-197.

1988 “Ecological aspects of site recovery under swidden-fallow management in the Peruvian Amazon.” Agroforestry Systems 7: 161-184.

1985 C. Padoch, J. Chota, W. De Jong and J. Unruh, “Amazonian agroforestry: a market-oriented system in Peru.” Agroforestry Systems 3: 47-58.

Book Chapters


2011 * J. Unruh and M. Shalaby, “Road infrastructure reconstruction as a peacebuilding priority in Afghanistan: negative implications for land rights.” In Harnessing Natural Resources for Peacebuilding: Lessons from U.S. and Japanese Assistance, edited by C. Bruch, M. Nakayama and I. Coyle. Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute.

2009 * “Humanitarian approaches to conflict and post-conflict legal pluralism in land tenure.” In Uncharted Territory Land, Conflict and Humanitarian Action, edited by S. Pantuliano. Warwickshire, UK: Practical Action Publishers.

2008 * “The property rights perscription: urban migrants versus rural customary land tenure in the developing world.” In The Mystery of Capital and the Construction of Social Reality, edited by B. Smith, D. Mark and I. Erlich. Chicago: Open Court Press.

2005 * J.D. Unruh, H. Nagendra, G.M. Green, W.J. McConnell and N. Vogt, “Cross-Continental Comparisons: Africa and Asia.” In Seeing the Forest and the Trees: Human-Environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems, edited by E.F. Moran and E. Ostrom. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

2004 * “Migration induced legal pluralism in land tenure: implications for environmental Change.” In Environmental Change and its Implications for Population Migration, edited by J.D. Unruh, M.A. Krol and N. Kliot. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

2004 * “Rural property rights in a peace process: lessons from Mozambique.” In WorldMinds: 100 Geographical Perspectives On 100 Problems, edited by B. Warf, D. Janelle and K. Hanson. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Kluwer.

2002 * “Land dispute resolution in Mozambique: evidence and institutions of agroforestry technology adoption.” In Innovation in Natural Resource Management: The Role of Property Rights and Collective Action in Developing Countries, edited by R. Meinzen-Dick, A. Mcculloch, F. Place and B. Swallow. London: Johns Hopkins University Press.

1996 * “Resource Sharing: small holders and pastoralists in Shalambood, Lower Shabelle Region.” In The Struggle for Land in Southern Somalia: The War Behind the War, edited by C. Besteman and L. Cassanelli. Boulder, CO: Westview Press.

1995 “Pastoralist resource use and access in Somalia: a changing context of development, environmental stress, and conflict.” In Disaster and Development on the Horn of Africa, edited by J. Sorenson. London: Macmillan.

1994 M. Roth, J. Unruh and D. Barrows, “Land registration, tenure security, credit use and investment in the Shabelle region of Somalia.” In Searching for Tenure Security in Africa, edited by J.W. Bruce and S.E. Migot-Adholla. Dubuque, IA: The World Bank and Kendall\Hunt Publishing.

1987 * J.D. Unruh and J.B. Alcorn, “Relative dominance of the useful component in young managed fallows at Brillo Nuevo.” In Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany, edited by W.M. Denevan and C. Padoch, 47-52. New York: New York Botanical Garden.

1987 * J.D. Unruh and S.F. Paitan, “Relative abundance of the useful component in old Managed Fallows at Brillo Nuevo.” In Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany, edited by W.M. Denevan and C. Padoch, 67-73. New York: New York Botanical Garden.

1987 * C. Padoch, J. Chota, W. De Jong and J. Unruh, “Market-oriented agroforestry at Tamishiyacu.” In Swidden-Fallow Agroforestry in the Peruvian Amazon. Advances in Economic Botany, edited by W.M. Denevan and C. Padoch, 90-96. New York: New York Botanical Garden.