Updated 6 days, 14 hours ago

Indigenous groups can really battle deforestation

A study finally shows how Peruvian forest loss declined after indigenous groups were granted titles to their land.

The entitling process of indigenous communities protects tropical forests from deforestation in Peru, according to a study published on April 3rd in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS).

"This study is among the first spatially explicit analysis of its kind, and the results strongly support the notion that granting land  to indigenous or local communities can, at least in the short term, help protect forests," as stated in "Entitling Indigenous Communities Protects Forests in the Peruvian Amazon."

Among the most important findings in this matter is that it reduces deforestation by more than three-quarters and forest degradation by approximately two-thirds over a two-year period spanning the year the title is Granted and the following year.

Blackman, principal investigator for Resources for the Future (Washington, USA) and the Inter-American Development Bank in the Sustainable Development and Climate Change sector, explains the methodology used: "Our statistical method was to estimate the effect of granting the formal title in the forest cover change. It essentially compares the change of forest cover within indigenous communities before and after the title is awarded. In addition, it analyzes the control of factors that affect forest cover change naturally, such as temperature, rainfall, among other factors. "

"We protect forests because they are our life, so it is important to give us this right of legal security of the degree. Because we are related to the forest by our world view of the Amazonian indigenous peoples. Beyond a legal title, the forest is unique, not to care for birds alone, it is to take care of the lives of future generations. The State has a historical debt with us for many years, all its republican life, on the other hand, our life is millennial and we have lived with the forests in harmony since always. It is also important to recognize that the Amazon peoples demand collective titles, not individual, our territory is not squared, is everyone, "says a native.

With the publication of this study, it is desired that the authorities take into account the indigenous peoples as protective agents of the forest. "The effect on the environment is one of the many factors that policy-makers need to consider when making policy on titling indigenous lands. Our study suggests that titration reduces forest cover change. In other words, the degree has an environmental benefit. Definitely, that benefit should be taken into account, "concludes Blackman.