Indigenous peoples play growing role in biodiversity protection
Nature News Blog, 10 September 2012

JEJU, REPUBLIC OF KOREA: Community-based conservation is poised to take a starring role in the effort to meet global biodiversity targets. That’s one of the take-home messages of the first-ever Protected Planet Report, launched on 7 September 2012 by UNEP-WCMC at the IUCN World Conservation Congress. The report reveals a profound shift in the way protected areas are being managed around the world. In 1990, just 14% of protected areas allowed hunting and other sustainable uses of natural resources, but today that number has risen to 32%. At the same time, the amount of areas managed exclusively by governments has declined from 96% to 77%, a trend reflecting the rise of community-based conservation and co-management schemes with indigenous peoples. “The protected area network is rapidly changing not only in its area, but in the different approaches to management,” says the report’s lead author, geographer Bastian Bertzky. Bertzky says that indigenous reserves and sacred natural sites may be the key that enables countries to meet Aichi targets on such a short timeline. Only a fraction of such sites meet the requirements of the World Database on Protected Areas, which was used to compile the report, but they would still qualify under the terms of the Convention on Biological Diversity. His colleagues at UNEP-WCMC recently launched the Indigenous and Community Conserved Areas database, and these areas could double estimates of the amount of the land under some form of protection. “We still need to figure out how to include these areas in our global analysis,” he says. Read the post … Download the Protected Planet Report [pdf] …