Study Finds Indigenous Land Management Highly Effective in Combating Climate Change

The study highlights the story of Brazil, where increasing indigenous rights to the rainforest helped cut carbon emissions by 3.2 billion tons.

This article originally appeared at Equals Change, the staff blog of the Ford Foundation. The author is the director of sustainable development at the Ford Foundation.

Pis Pis River in Mayangna Territory

The first time I heard about Charlie Taylor was the day he died. A friend rang to say that ranchers had attacked a group of Mayangna Indians in a forest near Musawas in Nicaragua, killing one of the Indians and injuring several others. Charlie—a 40-year old father of seven who farmed locally and panned for gold in nearby rivers—was the one who died.

On April 23, 2013, Charlie was part of a group of villagers who went to investigate after hearing that ranchers were chopping down forests to clear land for pasture, in territory managed by the Mayangna. It turned out to be true: When Charlie confronted the intruders and asked what they were doing on his peoples’ land, they started shooting. Charlie was hit and died a few hours later.

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