Indigenous land rights key to stopping deforestation in Central America

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From The Guardian:

Conservation reserves in Central America have shut indigenous peoples off from their traditional lands and driven deforestation, community leaders have told Climate Home.

Since revolution in the region started to wind down in the 1980s, there has been an internationally celebrated trend to create large conservation areas. Hundreds of thousands of square kilometres of forest have been placed within borders designed to protect them.

But according to a report released at a meeting of the Convention on Biological Diversity in Mexico on Thursday, some of those areas have placed restrictions on the tribes who made their living in the forest through traditional, and what they say are sustainable, practices.

“The protected areas have had a terrible impact on our people,” said Norvin Golf, the president of a coalition of Miskito tribes from Honduras. “And when you look at the maps you can see it. It is clear that on lands that we manage, the forests are standing, and where there are protected areas and no people, there is invasion and destruction.”

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