Paper: Indigenous lands protect forests

Congratulations to Jocelyne Sze on the publication of her paper on Indigenous lands, protected areas and deforestation in the tropics. The paper appears in Nature Sustainability and is the 1st paper from Jocelyne’s PhD.  

Jocelyne’s research shows that Indigenous lands have on average a 5th less deforestation compared to non-protected areas. And in some places Indigenous lands are better than other types of protected areas at protecting forests.

Jocelyne writes about research for the Conversation

Writing in the Conversation about her paper on Indigenous lands, Jocelyne explains its importance.

‘Our research bolsters the status of Indigenous communities as effective stewards of the land. This is particularly important as countries prepare for the 15th UN biodiversity conference in April 2022, where they’ll set fresh targets for halting species and habitat loss and agree on a new global framework for protecting nature.

Indigenous communities and their leaders must be at the negotiating table when the world meets to develop this roadmap. Growing evidence shows Indigenous peoples benefit the environment through their stewardship. Conservationists should support that by respecting their rights to land and autonomy and providing adequate funding.’

If you want to read the full article by Jocelyne then look here.

Reduced deforestation and degradation in Indigenous Lands pan-tropically

Area-based protection is the cornerstone of international conservation policy. And this paper is the first of its kind to look at all 3 of the global tropics – Americas, Africa and Asia – in terms of Indigenous lands and deforestation.

Importantly, the paper finds that Indigenous lands have lower deforestation and degradation than comparable non-protected areas. Specifically, Indigenous lands had a 5th less deforestation on average compared to non-protected areas. Further, in Africa Indigenous lands reduce deforestation more effectively than protected areas.

To collect her data, Jocelyne used maps of protected areas and Indigenous peoples’ lands. These were used to identify what areas are protected under state regulations, are managed or owned by Indigenous peoples, are covered by a combination of both, or are not protected at all. Then she used recent satellite data to calculate their levels of deforestation and degradation.

paper on indigenous lands map
A map figure from Jocelyne’s paper on Indigenous lands, protected areas and deforestation.

Find out more

Read the full paper: Reduced deforestation and degradation in Indigenous Lands pan-tropically.

Or you can find a summary of the paper on The University of Sheffield’s website.