Indigenous Conservation

Indigenous-led conservation. A way forward.

“We have been on our land for over 700 generations and have learned important lessons around sustainability and natural resource management.”
Hereditary Heiltsuk Chief Frank Brown, an adjunct professor at Simon Fraser University,
recently shared with Canada’s National Observer.”
Indigenous peoples, counting as only 5% of the world’s population, own or manage up to 25% of land globally, in which most of the earth’s remaining biodiversity – an estimated 80% thrives in. Yet there is little support of Indigenous-led conservation still to this day.
Inclusive Conservation

Stewards or Guardians  — as those working directly to conserve natural areas are now known — have been working with and in the land for centuries if not longer. Studies are increasingly demonstrating that their efforts to conserve land and water bodies prove to be better than various other forms of conservation. This stems from not just a deep relationship with the land, but also a very different approach to land management. It starts with less of a focus on monetary gains.

 

Indigenous People
Indigenous People

“This decline is happening at a slower rate on indigenous peoples’ lands, according to a report, compiled by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). Its authors and other conservation experts say the world should not only draw lessons from those and other local communities’ environmental stewardship but that scientists and policy makers need to support and partner with them in order to stem the tide of biodiversity loss.”

Rights and Respect. Social Justice Serves Nature. Nature Serves the People.

Indigenous conservation is a much more holistic approach to land management: healthy relationships between humans and nature. For this reciprocal ecosystem to flourish it requires respect and support of those working with the land, and studies have even now shown that when these communities and their land are truly respected there are lower rates of deforestation.

Many of these stewards face threats to their lives and livelihoods and don’t have the resources or the support to maintain or protect their land. Considering the amount of knowledge and expertise in managing and conserving these vast tracts of land and the amount of biodiversity that is being protected, as well as the long term positive effects to our global environment, it is imperative that they are not just provided monetary resources but also given financial and governing independence that has so long been withheld from them.

Indigenous Conservation. A Working Example.

Ducks Unlimited Canada is involved with over 15 million hectares of land through North America, Mexico and Canada, including the Boreal Forests, with a special focus on wetlands and waterfowl. They are involved in water and land biodiversity protection, ecosystem services and landscape managing and monitoring. Many projects are led by stewards from many indigenous peoples and individuals.

One of these projects is with Native Plant Solutions, the Keeyask Generation Project in Manitoba, Canada, to develop marsh habitat in the Gull’s Rapid Creek area.The project aimed to allow input in designing and developing the conservation outcomes that would best suit the habitat.

Many communities were consulted. Central to the project were education, hunting, habitat and ecotourism ventures — with an emphasis that the site is developed for use by youth, elders and the community at large.

Nature For Justice. Our Perspective.

It’s our mission to mobilize funds and provide the necessary technical resources to leading, in-country organizations working with local communities around the world to achieve climate resiliency.

One priority of ours is to advocate for at-risk communities, especially indigenous peoples, confronting the climate crisis.

At-risk communities seek a secure and just future in the face of climate change. We aim to provide them with the funds, knowledge, networks and the agency they need to achieve this. Most often, those most affected by climate change have little voice and are often powerless to adopt changes in their favor.

We seek social justice by making their voices heard, their challenges addressed, and their indigenous cultures and knowledge respected.

Join us in the fight.  Make a donation here.

Author

  • Steven is a specialist in Aboriginal and Treaty Constitutional Rights, Negotiations, and Relationship Building with indigenous peoples.

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