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Jenna DiPaolo Colley
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jdipaolo@rightsandresources.org
Tel: +1 202 470 3894
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Press Release

In a new study released today, researchers say they have identified significant flaws in ambitious forest preservation projects underway 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. The DRC province of Mai-Ndombe has been a testing ground for international climate schemes designed to halt forest destruction while benefiting indigenous and other local peoples who depend on forests for their food and incomes, with US$90 million already dispersed or committed for climate finance in the province.

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Media Campaigns

Con su sombrero de ala ancha, Carlos Pérez Sebastián, nuestro guía de campo durante la semana, afirmó: “La silvicultura comunitaria es una gran alternativa para el desarrollo, pues mejora los espacios verdes, el oxígeno, el agua y la biodiversidad. Al practicar la silvicultura comunitaria, estamos garantizando un mejor futuro para nuestros hijos y nietos”. Carlos explicaba esto al pie de una ladera que un ejido (grupo forestal comunitario) había restaurado con especies autóctonas en Cruz de Oco

In India, making the business case for community forest rights

In 2006, India’s parliament passed the Forest Rights Act, or FRA — a groundbreaking legislation that recognizes the rights of forest dwellers to protect and manage forest resources. Over 10 years after the legislation has passed, only 3 percent of the land on which forest dwellers could potentially claim community forest rights has been secured, according to the Rights and Resources Initiative.

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Press Coverage

How Carbon Trading Became a Way of Life for California’s Yurok Tribe

A number of experts now believe that reclaiming land for indigenous people is the best way to protect the Earth’s forests. According to the Rights and Resources Initiative, an N.G.O. that advocates for native land rights, legally recognized indigenous forests “tend to store more carbon and experience lower rates of deforestation.” But in a recent report supported by data from the Woods Hole Research Center, the initiative found that while indigenous communities currently manage forests and soil containing nearly three hundred billion metric tons of carbon—thirty-three times more than global energy-related emissions in 2017—they lacked legal titles to the sites of at least a third of that carbon total.” This puts “them, their forests and the carbon they store at great risk,” Alain Frechette, one of the authors of the initiative’s report, said.

Indigenous peoples and local communities in 64 tropical and subtropical countries occupy land storing nearly 300 billion metric tons of carbon above- and below-ground. That’s equal to 33 years of pollution, given a 2017 baseline. Where indigenous peoples live, high-tech mapping indicates, deforestation rates are dramatically lower, especially in the relatively few places where they have land ownership rights.

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