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Working with Indigenous Peoples to Conserve Nature: Examples from Latin America

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Author(s): Chicchon Avecita

Journal: Conservation & Society
ISSN 0972-4923

Volume: 7;
Issue: 1;
Start page: 15;
Date: 2009;
Original page

Keywords: indigenous peoples | management | protected areas | displacement | partnerships | Latin America

ABSTRACT
In some cases, the creation of protected areas to conserve nature has resulted in the displacement of indigenous peoples away from their original territories in Latin America. In this context, conservation organizations are developing alliances with indigenous peoples in different parts of the continent to find ways to jointly address conservation and livelihood issues with equity to avoid displacement and to empower decision-making at the grassroots level. This article illustrates the establishment of partnerships between conservation organizations and indigenous peoples that have yielded concrete results. While it is hard to generalize from a high diversity of cases, the common thread is the realization that the main solution would be to implement a comprehensive land/resource use reform that would avoid the destruction of wild habitats and promote the recuperation of degraded lands. Additionally, the management of protected areas must include the voices of those most directly affected by the establishment of those areas; one solution is the participation of indigenous peoples and other local stakeholders in protected areas management committees.
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