Category Archives: Uncategorized

Respecting Land and Forest Rights: A Guide for Companies


Scaling Up Strategies to Security Community Land and Resource Rights

he Interlaken Group with steering support from the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), has developed a guide to support companies aiming to observe and implement the Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land, Fisheries and Forests in the Context of National Food Security (VGGT).

Head Smashed In Buffalo Jump, Alberta CA

Looking for an incredibly cool place to visit — go to the cliff and interpretive center of Head-Smashed-In-Buffalo Jump in southern Alberta CA just north of Waterton National Park.  The Blackfeet have created an amazing place to visit — at one of the oldest cliffs used to drive herds of bison to their death and feed, clothe and supply clans of Blackfeet through long hard winters in the frozen North.  With months of preparation, and careful preservation of knowledge on how bison think and act, Blackfeet clans were able to set bison into a stampede before horses were introduced to North America and thus hunt large numbers of bison that were the main source of food, clothing, tents, utensils, hunting and gathering implements, water pouches and beautiful art for the Blackfeet.  This center is amazing — 5700 years of bone debris strata show long use over the past 10,000 years before the horse changed hunting. I won’t explain the name– go visit!!

Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump


China Fences in its Nomads : Why is this policy seen as a good idea?

New article by Andrew Jacobs in the NY Times explores the implications of “settling Yak and Sheep herders” on the assumption that their lives (and grasslands) will become better. Americans in Indian Country probably have a lot to say about this development in China and many lessons to share. Why has it been so hard on the Nomads?

— the stated rationale is protecting fragile grasslands but the science of transhumant herding contradicts this rationale — it in fact removes human stewards from a landscape they have been intimately part of for centuries

— better medical care and education but without evidence it will lead to better employment or livelihoods

–for many — alcoholism, unemployment, increased dependence on a coal mining economy to stay employed

–culture loss for multiple ethnic peoples and traditional knowledge loss (what does China lose that it poorly understands?)

–psychological damage from forced resettlement (World Bank has a resettlement policy for a reason)

China Fences in Its Nomads, and an Ancient Life Withers

I’m starting a blog!


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.