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land rights

Why Community Forest Rights Should Be Part of National Climate Change Policies

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.

3 Maps Show Importance of Local Communities in Forest Conservation

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.

A Farmer In Africa: Balancing Property Rights With National Needs

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.

Why Community Land Rights Belong in the Sustainable Development Goals

A U.N. working group of 70 member states recently adopted a proposed set of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to succeed the U.N.’s Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) set to expire in 2015. The “post-2015” SDGs will aim to eradicate extreme poverty by 2030 while also supporting inclusive economic development and environmental sustainability. While the proposal puts forward a plethora of targets for the international community to pursue between 2015 and 2030, it leaves out a critical component of improving rural livelihoods—securing community land rights.

Community Forests: An Undervalued Approach to Climate Change Mitigation

Governments around the world legally recognize at least 513 million hectares of community forests, land held collectively by either rural populations or Indigenous Peoples. This area stores about 37 billion tonnes of carbon—29 times the annual carbon footprint of all the passenger vehicles in the world.

Securing Rights, Combating Climate Change, a new report from WRI and the Rights and Resources Initiative, shows that by protecting and expanding the amount of officially recognized community forests, national governments can meet their climate goals while also improving citizens’ livelihoods.

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