FFA PvP and the ability to lose your land needs to be implemented sooner than the later perhaps.
The world needs to shape in accordance to how people are going to play/expect the world to be. Or else it will form in a non-natural way.
For example, if FFA PvP were in place right now, the player base would react in a different way. We would all be fortifying our territories with walls, water (or some sort of security mechanism). And that's exactly what would happen if this were RL - the first thing to do would be security to protect yourself and your belongings.
FFA PvP would cause people to ban together, start cities, start government, start politics, declare wars, etc. It's just the way of things.
ATM I do not see how a random spawn of racoons or bears is going to do that.
In one of your updates, you mentioned 2 servers, the current ruleset and a "hardcore" ruleset. Perhaps with all the lag/leaks we experienced over the weekend, maybe it would not be such a bad idea to wipe with 2 servers, a FFA PvP (no safe zones) and a normal server (what we have now). That essentially is the only difference - the safe zone PvP toggle.
This way we have 2 worlds growing as they "should". Everyone is happy.
I can respect both the PvE'ers and the PvP'ers outlook on this, and in my 13 years experience in playing sandbox mmorpgs, I have found it next to impossible for developers to please both PvE'ers and PvP'ers. In the end one of the 2 groups leaves the game and over time the sandbox drys up and blows away because of it.
I do however realize this is more work/pressure on you. Since you would have to now maintain 2 servers.
Anyway, just something to consider/discuss.