Land for low-income and disadvantaged groups is a critical issue in both agricultural areas and in human settlements. There are gross inequalities in the distribution of rights to agricultural lands in most developing countries, and low income and disadvantaged groups are being excluded from adequate access to productive agricultural land. Poverty has been exacerbated by the unequal distribution of land and other assets associated with the rapid rise in population, which has compromised the ability to raise living standards. Together with growing demands for the commercial use of good land, often to grow crops for export, these have forced many subsistence farmers onto poor land, thus depriving them of any hope of participating in the economic development of their country. Similarly, traditional shifting cultivators, who maintained a stable relationship with the forests on which they depended, now have neither land enough nor time to let the forests re-establish. Extending cultivation onto steep, and especially deforested, slopes is increasing soil erosion. Extending such cultivation into river valleys often increases vulnerability to frequent flooding.