In much of Africa, rural farmers and communities are losing their land to government, investors and others. It's creating profound impacts on local livelihoods and the environment.
Local communities in Africa, Asia and Latin America can lose access to critical resources when land rights are weak, threatening food and incomes for more than two billion people. Three fundamental goals must be achieved to improve land rights.
Differences in the ways men and women understand and use forests mean natural resource policies can result in significant gender-differentiated impacts that oftentimes put women at a disadvantage.
Cécile Ndjebet, a partner of WRI’s Governance of Forests Initiative, explains the challenges rural, forest-dependent women face in Cameroon, as well as solutions for overcoming these problems.
Alda Salomao is the director general of Centro Terra Viva, an organization working to secure community land rights in Mozambique. In an interview with WRI's Celine Salcedo-La Viña, she describes the tension between communities in the Afungi Peninsula and a natural gas project.
Strengthening community forest rights can help mitigate climate change in many heavily forested countries.
Globally, communities have legal rights to at least 513 million hectares of forest, making up one-eighth of the world’s forests. These community forests hold about 37.7 billion tonnes of carbon, or 29 times more than the annual carbon footprint of all passenger vehicles in the world.
Nicaragua legally recognizes 49 percent of its remaining forests as community-owned forests.
But it wasn't always this way; indigenous communities stepped up and conserved their forests in the face of government inaction.
Local communities are key to protecting the world’s last remaining forests. Indigenous peoples hold legal or official rights to one-eighth of the world’s forests, about 513 million hectares (1.3 billion acres).
Read more about how researchers used Global Forest Watch maps to identify lower rates of deforestation where governments protect communities’ rights.
This video illustrates Katari community farmers who rely on community land rights, and the challenges faced by governments who don't always back them up with legislation.
Securing community land rights help maintain healthier forests and lower CO2 emissions from deforestation and forest degradation.
Community land lies at the heart of rural life in Africa, so losing community rights to land can undermine livelihoods and trigger conflict. Most governments recognize customary tenure arrangements that establish communities' rights to land and natural resources, but few governments have the strong legislation needed to help communities protect the land they depend upon. A new video explains.