Document / Publication
World Resources Institute (WRI)
This report analyzes the growing body of evidence linking community forest rights with healthier forests and lower carbon dioxide emissions from deforestation and forest degradation. Although this report concerns climate change mitigation, strengthening the forest rights of indigenous peoples and local communities has other benefits, including helping communities adapt to climate change, securing livelihoods, conserving biodiversity, cultural survival, political inclusion, and avoiding or reducing conflicts, among others. By focusing on climate change mitigation, it is not discounting these other invaluable benefits or implying that they are less important.
Based on studies of legally-recognized community forests in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Indonesia, Mexico, Nepal, Nicaragua, Niger, Papua New Guinea, Peru, and Tanzania, Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change finds that deforestation rates inside community forests with strong legal recognition and government protection are dramatically lower than in forests outside those areas.
The report also finds that, in addition to legal recognition, governments should enforce the rights of forest communities over their land and prevent encroachments from illegal settlers and loggers. Further, governments should refrain from undermining community forest rights by allocating mining, gas, and oil concessions over community forests. Without active protection, communities face the loss of the forests that they depend on for their livelihoods, food, and culture.
Strengthening the rights of forest communities presents a vital tool for tackling climate change. This report aims to help climate policymakers to take advantage of this tool for addressing climate change that will also secure the livelihoods and sustainable development of people around the world.