A Win for Indigenous Land Rights Is a Win for the Earth



According to a June report by the Rights and Resources Initiative, Indigenous, Afro-descendant peoples, and local communities in Asia, Africa, and Latin America received legal ownership of over 247 million acres of land between 2015 and 2020, amounting to an eighty-five percent increase in indigenous land ownership. 

The study, which includes seventy-three countries, found that indigenous and local communities now own eleven percent of the world’s land. Although in some cases these communities still struggle with limited access and management rights, Grist reports, the environmental benefits of increased indigenous and local community land rights is significant. Studies show that Indigenous peoples are among the best managers of land and resources and protectors of the environment, for reasons that include their knowledge and stewardship of nature and resistance to forces of environmental degradation and exploitation. A study by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations, for example, found that between 2006 and 2011, indigenous territories in the Peruvian Amazon reduced deforestation twice as much as protected areas did. 

Indigenous land management has been proven to cultivate a healthier environment, and this recent increase in land rights is a beacon of hope for both local communities and planet earth. 

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Lily Olsen
Lily Olsen
Lily is a Reporter and Associate Editor with Bluedot Living, contributing from California and France.
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