DR Congo’s Mai-Ndombe Forest ‘Savaged’ As Landless Communities Struggle

The forests of Mai-Ndombe (“black water” in Lingala) are rich in rare and precious woods (red wood, black wood, blue wood, tola, kambala, lifake, among others). It is also home to about 7,500 bonobos, an endangered primate and the closest cousin to humans of all species, sharing 98 percent of our genes, according to the WWF.

The forests constitute a vital platform providing livelihoods for some 73,000 indigenous individuals, mostly Batwa (Pygmies), who live here alongside the province’s 1.8 million population, many of whom with no secure land rights.

Liberia’s new president must lead on land rights or risk conflict

President Weah has a choice: be “open for business” without recognizing community land rights and risk a backslide into conflict and insecurity or to move towards a new model by prioritizing the land rights of the people who voted him into office and consolidate peace and sustainable development in Liberia.

Can seven pieces of information reduce land conflicts?

Large-scale land acquisitions can spark conflict because of their potential to drive local people from their land and homes, with research published last year showing displacement of local people was the most significant driver of investment disputes in Africa.

As many as 26 cases across 11 states show that forest land is being acquired by the government for development projects like mining and dams’ construction by forging consent of tribespeople or by ignoring it, according to a new analysis.

REDD+ in Mai-Ndombe: A Threat to People and Forests?

REDD+ pilot projects implemented in Mai-Ndombe province, in the west of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), can harm beneficiaries without stopping deforestation, according to…

UN schemes to save forests ‘can trample on tribal rights’

The only UN-approved financial mechanism to curb deforestation, a key driver of global warming, has bulldozed the rights of forest-dwelling peoples on three continents and needs to be fixed, experts say.

The Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI), a group of governmental and non-governmental organizations, released a new report on March 14. In it, the group claims that a set of conservation and development projects known collectively as REDD+ are sidelining local communities in Mai-Ndombe and infringing on their rights to control what happens to their forest homes.

U.N. climate projects in Congo leave locals worse off – report

A large-scale United Nations programme to halt deforestation in the Democratic Republic of Congo, home to the world’s second-largest rainforest, is harming local communities and failing to protect forests, land rights researchers said on Wednesday. The U.S.-based group Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI) called on the World Bank to withhold funding from 20 current or pending projects in the province of Mai-Ndombe, which has been a test case for a U.N.-backed conservation scheme known as REDD+.

UN forest project ‘does more harm than good’

The harm a UN forest project in Africa is doing to local people is greater than the good it is managing to achieve for them, researchers say. They say they have found significant flaws in conservation projects in a densely-forested region of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), where a decision on future investment by the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility(FCPF) is imminent.

To improve land rights in Ghana, start with women

If you talk to anybody in the land sector in Ghana, they say they are interested in protecting women and protecting their rights, but the structures in place – especially customary systems – make it challenging for women to defend their rights. It’s not that the law itself defines a different set of rights for men than for women, but the problem is in the way the law is interpreted and applied.

The right way to save India’s forests

The Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act (CAF Act), 2016 has raised serious concerns about the human and environmental costs of compensatory afforestation (CA). Mounting evidence establishes that CA plantations destroy natural forests, harm biodiversity, undermine the rights and nutrition of local communities, and disguise rampant misuse of public funds.

Have Companies Really Done Enough to Bring An End To Deforestation?

Lien De Brouckere, Deputy Director of the Africa Region for the Rights and Resources Initiative, says that accountability is one of the main challenges for the initiatives she works with, which largely involve protecting African forests from deforestation by palm oil growers.

Combining traditional knowledge with science for climate adaptation

Indigenous communities hold a wealth of knowledge about their local environment, which – if properly documented and shared – has potential to enhance scientific efforts to mitigate the impacts of climate change.

Rainforests: the year in review 2017

Between America’s abandonment of leadership on conservation and environmental policy, Brazil’s backtracking on forest conservation, massive forest fires worldwide, and the revelation of a sharp increase in global forest loss in 2016, 2017 was a rough year for tropical rainforests. Still, there were bright spots, including the establishment of new protected areas, better forest monitoring and research, and continued progress in recognizing the critical role local and indigenous communities play in forest conservation.

A new forest economy

On November 17, the forest department of Odisha gave in to the demands of tribal communities from six villages of Kalahandi district. The communities wanted to sell the tendu leaves they had collected from the Bhawanipatna forest division to traders of their choice, but it took them six months of protests and several memorandums to make the forest department budge. Traditionally, the Odisha Forest Development Corporation would buy the leaves from them. This year the corporation was offering the communities Rs 2.40 for a bundle of 60 leaves but direct sale to traders fetched them Rs 7.50.

Indigenous peoples and other local communities play a vital role when it comes to mitigating the impact of climate change. But despite inhabiting 50 per cent of the world’s land, these communities legally own just 10 per cent of it. As a result, civil society groups are calling on governments around the world to scale up the protection of customary land rights.

For two decades, indigenous peoples have engaged with the UN climate talks, pointing out that the world’s climate mitigation strategies have omitted their knowledge systems and, in some instances, actively harmed and displaced their communities. This year, indigenous representatives managed to make important strides, including gaining approval of a platform that finally opens the door for their active participation in global climate negotiations.

Tribal women lose food basket to commercial timber species: Study

NEW DELHI: A new report on government’s plantation drives has found that most of the plantations are carried out on forest areas which are already supporting native trees and vegetation. These plantations are in fact replacing forest trees with commercial timber species such as teak, eucalyptus, bamboo and others. Moreover, the plantations are often encroaching on forest dwellers’ land in violation of the forest rights act which gives forest communities the right to use forest resources, to conserve and to live in forests.

A public consultation on the issue of Scheduled Tribes and Other Traditional Forest Dwellers (Recognition of Forest Rights) Act, 2006 (FRA) violation in protected areas (PA) was carried out on November 15 in Delhi by All India Forum for Forest Movements (AIFFM), Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Kalpavriksh and Vasundhara.

About 70 participants—representing local community members from over 32 PAs—civil society members and researchers across 13 states attended the consultation. The community members and activists also shared experiences and presented testimonies.