Globalization and demand for goods and resources is putting ever greater pressure on areas in globe and on land and resource rights of forest and pasture communities living in them.
On one hand, post-colonial governments and governments moving to more inclusive governance from imperial systems are recognizing the rights of forest dwellers, farmers, pastoralists, fishing communities and others and legitimizing these rights individually or collectively through adjudication or titling.
BUT, new and expanded mining and energy extraction, tourism development, commercial scale agriculture, residential expansion, and logging are moving into ever more remote areas. With greater political pressure to re-neg on legitimizing traditional and indigenous peoples tenure and rights. Even expanding protected area designations can be a curse rather than a blessing if age-old communities can no longer pursue their culture and livelihoods. Technical innovation adds pressure — all of us using smartphones consume a wide array of metals and minerals mined in many fragile and community owned spaces.
PLUS, communities in any remote areas facing ecological change and threat from climate change — needing to adapt to new realities, yet increasingly finding their legitimacy in question. Resilient, grounded communities are wonderful resource protectors and managers when they can build on an enabling political and support environment. Conservation is usually more practical and cost-effective when local people can lead.
Investment and commercial activity are moving very quickly into forests, wetlands, mountains and savannahs that were until now ‘remote’. So much is happening in this decade. And so much can be done to secure those rights now to shape investment, economic activity, and landscape conservation in a positive way.