Conservation initiatives led by local and indigenous groups can be just as effective as schemes led by government, according to new research.
In some cases in the Amazon rainforest, grassroots initiatives can be even more effective at protecting this vital ecosystem. This is particularly important due to widespread political resistance to hand over control over forests and other natural resources to local communities.
Researchers from the University of Cambridge, the University of East Anglia (UEA) and the Peruvian Ministry of Environment assessed the effectiveness of different approaches to conservation in the Peruvian Amazon between 2006 and 2011. They found that while all were effective at protecting the rainforest compared with non-protected areas of land, the areas protected by local and indigenous communities were on average more effective than those protected by the government.
However, the effectiveness of the conservation strategies also depended on what non-protected areas they were compared to, and the land use restrictions in place in the non-protected land. Future assessments of the impacts of different conservation strategies should therefore pay closer attention to land use restrictions in place in non-protected lands. The results are reported in the journal Scientific Reports.
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