New research has suggested that strengthening communities’ sense of ownership and control in forests could cut deforestation and climate change.
Analysts say that Governments are failing to take full advantage of the opportunities to combat climate change and empower communities that strengthened tenure rights and laws could offer.
The data from the World Resources Institute (WRI) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) reveals that in forestry areas officially overseen by local communities, deforestation rates can be up to hundreds of times lower than areas which are managed privately or by the state.
For example, in Brazil and Guatemala, local tenure has seen deforestation fall by 12 per cent. In areas of Mexico, community management has led to deforestation rates being up to 350 times lower.
The researchers analysed satellite images and deforestation rates and were able to map these against different tenure approaches to create the report. If taken on board, the implications could be significant, given that 10 to 20 per cent of greenhouse gas emissions each year come from deforestation.
The analysis report finds: “This approach to mitigating climate change has long been undervalued. Governments, donors and other climate change stakeholders tend to ignore or marginalise the enormous contribution to mitigating climate change that expanding and strengthening communities’ forest rights can make.”
Companies such as Greenwood Management ensure their work in the Brazilian rainforest is sustainable and supports the environment.