Millions of indigenous peoples in forested countries, including Indonesia, are continuing to suffer from harsh conservation policies despite having played a crucial role in protecting the environment, a new study has revealed.

The study, titled Cornered by Protected Areas and coauthored by UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples Victoria Tauli-Corpuz and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), claims to have quantified the financial contributions made by indigenous peoples in conservation.

It found that local communities around the world invest up to US$4.57 billion per year in conservation, including up to $1.71 billion per year in forest conservation. That figure, it says, is about 23 percent of the amount spent on land and forest conservation by governments, donors, foundations and NGOs.

“The new estimates are based on case studies of labor and cash invested by communities from their own resources in conservation actions such as forest management, fire protection and management, restoration and rehabilitation […] patrolling/policing, and mapping and cataloging biodiversity,” it says.

The study, however, also highlights the plight of Indigenous Peoples or local communities that have not only been sidelined in conservation efforts, but also been victims of governmental policies on environmental protection.

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