All posts by molnara2015

I am a retired co-founder and sr. director of the Rights and Resources Group, a coordinator of the RRI initiative, promoting land and resource tenure and rights of forest communities worldwide. I am also retired from the World Bank Group where I have designed, evaluated and managed loans and grants in the agriculture, land, and social environment sectors in Latin America and South Asia. I have a doctorate in anthropology and am fluent in Spanish, strong in Nepali, and speak some French and a bit of Hindi.

From Burness latest newsletter

UN report is first to recognize that securing land rights for Indigenous Peoples is a climate solution

A major United Nations (UN) report is the first to cite strong land rights for Indigenous Peoples and local communities as a solution to the climate crisis. This report was compiled by a panel of 100 experts from 52 countries who assessed science related to the climate crisis. It was a long time coming. Burness worked with the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) to promote a statement signed by Indigenous Peoples from 42 countries supporting the landmark report. The resulting media coverage featured more than fifty top-tier media placements that mentioned Indigenous Peoples and local communities’ contributions to the fight against global climate change.

After years of working with RRI and Ford Foundation grantees to promote research on this topic, it was beyond gratifying to see their work acknowledged so prominently. After all, the report was compiled by a panel of 100 experts from 52 countries, people who assess science related to the climate crisis. Read this story in PRI for background on the significance of this news to Indigenous leaders and climate researchers working in this space.


Mexico’s Oaxaca continues to lead in Community Conservation

According to Anta and Perez (2004), 44 communities have set aside conservation areas comprising a total of 175,000ha. In a subsequent study, Anta (2007) identifies only 42 certified community reserves (covering 91,318ha) and 90 voluntary conservation areas (covering 265,720ha). Bray et al (2008) refer to 236 ‘informally protected’ community areas in Oaxaca, covering an estimated 240,000ha of forestlands. While many areas relate to local conservation efforts that are explicitly recognized by communities, governmental agencies, non- governmental organizations (NGOs) or academics, others fall under different land uses. Despite this somewhat confusing picture, two things are clear about ICCAs in Oaxaca. Firstly, there are far more of these areas here than in any other Mexican state.

sacred Forest near edge of Delhi’s high rises protected by local people

Gurugramwale: Discover tranquility amid the bustle in Mangar Bani

A rocky past of the region before urbanisation, the Mangar Bani is considered a sacred grove of the city.


Threatened always by development but protected as a green lung and sacred site —

Carbon stored in Collective Lands

  1. Indigenous Peoples and local communities manage at least 17 percent (293,061 Mt) of the total carbon stored in the forestlands of assessed countries—a global estimate that is 5 times greater than shown in a previous analysis of aboveground tropical forest carbon, equivalent to 33 times the global energy emissions of 2017.
  2. Twenty two percent (217,991 MtC) of the forest carbon found in the 52 tropical and subtropical countries in this analysis is stewarded by communities, and one-third of this (72,079 MtC) is located in areas where Indigenous Peoples and local communities lack formal recognition of their tenure rights—putting them, their lands, and the carbon stored therein at risk.
  3. Soil organic carbon accounts for almost 65 percent (113,218 Mt) and nearly 90 percent (105,606 Mt) of the total forest carbon managed by communities in tropical and non-tropical forest countries, respectively. By protecting their forests and lands, communities are not only maintaining the carbon stored in the trees (above and below ground), but are also in effect protecting vast reservoirs of carbon that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere if the overlying forests were destroyed.
  4. Carbon storage in collective lands is far greater and more extensive than what can be assessed through available data. This assessment remains an underestimate of carbon stored in collective forestlands worldwide. The full extent of forests and other lands held by indigenous and local communities—and particularly those where communities have yet to achieve legal recognition of their rights—is unknown and spatially explicit data concerning these areas remains lacking. Thus, vast stores of carbon within collective lands in carbon-rich countries such as Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo remain undocumented.

Mexico Community Forestry alleviates poverty

Community Forestry has been identified as a secure, profitable, and equitable strategy to reach the dual goal of forest conservation and poverty alleviation. This research contributes to the literature exploring the effects of local capacity building in forest communities by analyzing the Community Forestry Program (CFP) in Mexico. This program provides grants to enhance four types of local capacities: human, social, economic, and environmental. We used a quasi-experimental approach to quantitatively compare matched treatment and control communities regarding the effect of these interventions on two response variables: poverty alleviation and forest cover conservation. The treatment and control communities were assessed at two points in time: pre-intervention and after a 5-year treatment period. This approach was possible because we had access to a rich database of CFP grants containing more than 20,000 records from which we identify 5074 that meet the criteria for our study. Impact on poverty is assessed using a Marginality Index produced by a federal agency. Effect on forest cover conservation is evaluated by using two proxies, the rate of change on: forest cover and on forest cover fragmentation. Our results show that enhancement of only human/social capacities or all capacities as a package significantly reduce poverty. However, the first ones have a greater impact that the latter ones. Neither human/social capacities enhancement, nor all-capacities enhancement had a statistically significant effect on forest cover conser- vation. These findings can assist in better designing and targeting future CFP grants in Mexico. Also, they have implications for public policy since capacity building is cheaper than any other poverty alleviation mechanism such as direct cash transfers or subsidies. Furthermore, they have long-lasting impacts that do not require regular periodical contributions and they don’t discriminate by gender, or by the require- ment on individual community members of having land ownership rights within the community’s land holdings.


Effect of capacity building in alleviating poverty and improving forest conservation in the communal forests of Mexico

Juan Manuel Torres-Rojo a,⇑, Rafael Moreno-Sánchez b, Joel Amador-Callejas

World Development 121 (2019) 108–122


Defending Myanmar’s Remaining Environmental Treasures

Despite being engaged in a civil war with the central government for most of the past 70 years, today the ethnic communities of Myanmar’s Karen state are protecting some of the last full-spectrum biodiversity in Southeast Asia, through a combination of traditional land practices, global partnerships, and contemporary technology.