Date: September 9, 2018
Insecure, contested, and unjust forest tenure arrangements undermine forest investment and protection, fuel conflict, and jeopardize Indigenous Peoples’, local communities’, and rural women’s rights, livelihoods, and development prospects. With evidence from a global study of 58 countries covering nearly 92% of the world’s forests showing that over two-thirds of forests remain controlled by governments—a significant portion of which is contested by indigenous and local communities who traditionally own, manage, and depend on these forests—it is all the more critical that governments support and advance communities’ forest tenure rights.
Over the past 15 years, the forest area legally recognized for Indigenous Peoples and local communities in 41 countries with continuous data — covering 85% of the world’s forests — has grown from 374 million hectares (mha) in 2002 (10.9%) to at least 521 mha (15.3%) in 2017. Over 98% of these gains
occurred in 33 low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.