Land scarcity is a recurrent theme in low-level and persistent conflicts around the world. Scarcity can result from land degradation, unequal distribution of land, overpopulation, or some combinations of these. Lack of access to productive agricultural lands combines with population growth to encourage migration to steep hillsides. These hillsides are easily eroded, and after a few years fail to produce enough to support the migrants. The result is deepened poverty which then helps to fuel violence.
It is not out of place to remark here on a problem which exists in quite a number of countries, namely, a gross disproportion between land and population. In some countries arable land abounds, but there is a scarcity of population; whereas in other countries the position is reversed: the population is large, arable land scarce. (Papal Encyclical, Mater et Magistra, 15 May 1961).