It’s official – the key to conservation lies with indigenous peoples
Survival International, 10 November 2011

WASHINGTON DC,USA: Indigenous peoples are key to preserving the world’s forests, and conservation reserves that exclude them suffer as a result, according to a new study undertaken at the World Bank’s Independent Evaluation Group. The analysis used satellite data to show how deforestation plummets to its lowest levels when indigenous peoples continue living in protected areas, and are not forced out.

According to the study, in Latin America and Asia, strict protected areas (PAs) substantially reduced fire incidence, but multi-use PAs were even more effective. In Latin America, where there is data on indigenous areas, these areas reduce forest fire incidence by 16 %, over two and a half times as much as naïve (unmatched) comparison with unprotected areas would suggest. In Africa, more recently established strict PAs appear to be effective, but multi-use tropical forest protected areas yield few sample points, and their impacts are not robustly estimated. These results suggest that forest protection can contribute both to biodiversity conservation and CO2 mitigation goals, with particular relevance to the REDD agenda. Encouragingly, indigenous areas and multi-use protected areas can help to accomplish these goals, suggesting some compatibility between global environmental goals and support for local livelihoods. Read the release by Survival International … Read the study by Andrew Nelson and Kenneth M. Chomitz, Effectiveness of Strict vs. Multiple Use Protected Areas in Reducing Tropical Forest Fires: A Global Analysis Using Matching Methods, PLoS ONE 6(8): e22722.