Conservation alliances with indigenous peoples ot the Amazon

  • Schwartman S
  • Zimmerman B
  • Schwartzman S
 et al. 
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Abstract

Ongoing alliances between indigenous peoples and conservation organizations in the Brazilian Amazon have helped achieve the official recognition of ��1 million km2 of indigenous lands. The future of Amazonian indigenous reserves is of strategic importance for the fate of biodiversity in the region. We examined the legislation governing resource use on indigenous lands and summarize the history of the Kayapo people's consolidation of their >100,000 km2 territory. Like many Amazonian indigenous peoples, the Kayapo have halted the expansion of the agricultural frontier on their lands but allow selective logging and gold mining. Prospects for long-term conservation and sustainability in these lands depend on indigenous peoples' understandings of their resource base and on available economic alternatives. Although forest conservation is not guaranteed by either tenure security or indigenous knowledge, indigenous societies' relatively egalitarian common-property resource management regimes-along with adequate incentives and long-term partnerships with conservation organizations-can achieve this result. Successful initiatives include Conservation International's long-term project with the A'ukre Kayapo village and incipient large-scale territorial monitoring and control in the Kayapo territory, and the Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA) 15-year partnership with the peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Park, with projects centered on territorial monitoring and control, education, community organization, and economic alternatives. The recent agreement on ecological restoration of the Xingu River headwaters between ranchers and private companies, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists, brokered by ISA, marks the emergence of an indigenous and conservation alliance of sufficient cohesiveness and legitimacy to negotiate effectively at a regional scale. Amazon have helped achieve the official recognition of ��1 million km2 of indigenous lands. The future of Amazonian indigenous reserves is of strategic importance for the fate of biodiversity in the region. We examined the legislation governing resource use on indigenous lands and summarize the history of the Kayapo
people's consolidation of their >100,000 km2 territory. Like many Amazonian indigenous peoples, the Kayapo have halted the expansion of the agricultural frontier on their lands but allow selective logging and gold mining. Prospects for long-term conservation and sustainability in these lands depend on indigenous peoples' understandings of their resource base and on available economic alternatives. Although forest conservation is not guaranteed by either tenure security or indigenous knowledge, indigenous societies' relatively egalitarian common-property resource management regimes-along with adequate incentives and long-term partnerships with conservation organizations-can achieve this result. Successful initiatives include Conservation International's long-term project with the A'ukre Kayapo village and incipient large-scale territorial monitoring and control in the Kayapo territory, and the Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA) 15-year partnership with the peoples of the Xingu Indigenous Park, with projects centered on territorial monitoring and control, education, community organization, and economic alternatives. The recent agreement on ecological restoration of the Xingu River headwaters between ranchers and private companies, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists, brokered by ISA, marks the emergence of an indigenous and conservation alliance of sufficient cohesiveness and legitimacy to negotiate effectively at a regional scale.

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Authors

  • S Schwartman

  • Barbara Zimmerman

  • Stephan Schwartzman

  • Environmental Defense

  • Connecticut Avenue Nw

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