Boundary Marking

Page - February 28, 2006
The land rights of indigenous communities in Papua New Guinea were never questioned until logging companies took an interest in the value of the forest. The constitution itself recognises that 97 percent of the land belongs to indigenous communities.

Boundary marking, Lake Murray, Papua New Guinea.

Yet, with the arrival of the logging companies, a scramble for forest resources has ensued and customary landowners are now having to act fast to protect their land, the forest and the life it supports.

Boundary marking is a key tool in helping communities take back control of their land, their lives and their future because it prevents the government trading their land rights away to the loggers.

What is boundary marking?

Boundary marking is both a physical process in which territorial borders are identified and marked and a social process involving negotiations over where a tribe's boundaries lie. For the first time, tribal chiefs in Papua New Guinea are coming together to formally agree where the borders of their respective lands lie.


The process involves a boundary marking team walking the edges of the territories with the customary landowners.

The team takes readings from a Global Positioning System (GPS) and at the same time, the boundaries are physically marked with tags and a line or path is cut through the forest. Once the path is completed, the GPS co-ordinates are plotted and a boundary map created.