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New report shows Indigenous and Tribal Peoples `best guardians` of forests
Monday, 2021/03/29 | 08:42:05

Improving tenure in Amazon basin can lower deforestation rates and biodiversity loss

Figure: Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean are the best guardians of their forests when compared to those responsible for the region's other forests.

 

25 March 2021, Santiago, Chile/Rome - Deforestation rates are significantly lower in Indigenous and Tribal territories where governments have formally recognized collective land rights, according to a new report launched today.

 

Jointly published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the Fund for the Development of Indigenous Peoples of Latin America and the Caribbean (FILAC), Forest Governance by Indigenous and Tribal Peoples also shows that improving the tenure security of these territories is an efficient and cost-effective way to reduce carbon emissions.

 

Based on a review of more than 300 studies published in the last two decades, the new report reveals for the first time the extent to which Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in Latin America and the Caribbean are the best guardians of their forests when compared to those responsible for the region´s other forests.

 

The research also suggests that their protective role is increasingly at risk, at a time when the Amazon is nearing a tipping point, with worrisome impacts on rainfall and temperature, and eventual repercussions for food production and the global climate.  

 

"Indigenous and tribal peoples and the forests in their territories play vital roles in global and regional climate action and in fighting poverty, hunger and malnutrition," said FAO's Regional Representative, Julio Berdegué. "Their territories contain about one third of all the carbon stored in the forests of Latin America and the Caribbean and 14 percent of the carbon stored in tropical forests worldwide."

 

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples are invaluable agents against climate change 

 

Indigenous and Tribal Peoples are involved in the communal governance of between 320 and 380 million hectares of forests in the region, which store about 34,000 million metric tons of carbon, more than all the forests in Indonesia or in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

While Amazon Basin indigenous territories lost less than 0.3 percent of the carbon in their forests between 2003 and 2016, non-indigenous protected areas lost 0.6percent and other areas that were neither indigenous territories nor protected areas lost 3.6 percent. As a result, even though indigenous territories cover 28percent of the Amazon Basin, they only generated 2.6 26 percent of the region's gross carbon emissions.

 

The report's findings also indicate that Indigenous Peoples and Tribal Peoples play an important role in safeguarding biodiversity. These showed that Brazil's indigenous territories have more species of mammals, birds, reptiles, and amphibians than in all the country's protected areas outside these territories, while in Bolivia two-thirds of the country's vertebrate species and 60 percent of its plant species can be found in the Tacana and Leco de Apolo indigenous territories

 

See: http://www.fao.org/news/story/en/item/1391139/icode/

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