Cornered by protected areas: replacing 'fortress' conservation with rights-based approaches helps bring justice for Indigenous Peoples and local communities, reduces conflict, and enables cost-effective conservation and climate action

The best way to save forests and curb biodiversity loss is to recognize the claims of indigenous peoples to their territories, a new report urges. Published by the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), an international NGO , and Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, the UN special rapporteur on indigenous rights, the 28-nation study compares conservation outcomes in lands controlled by indigenous groups against those in government-managed “protection zones.” This research shows that indigenous peoples and local communities are investing substantially in conserving their forests — up to $1.71 billion in the developing world, the authors write. The figure amounts to between 16 and 23 percent of what the conservation establishment — governments, multilateral organizations, bilateral aid agencies, NGOs, foundations and private entities — spends each year.