Land Rights Essential to Protect Biodiversity and Indigenous Cultures


New research argues that legally protected large territories in Brazil are crucial to protect biodiversity and provide essential conditions for indigenous populations to maintain their traditional livelihoods.

Researchers at the University of East Anglia (UEA) in the UK show how several legislative alterations under deliberation in the Brazilian Congress – supported by well-funded and co-ordinated agriculture and mining lobbies, combined with an anti-indigenous policy of the top executive - would affect the long-term ethnocultural and environmental viability of Indigenous Lands. These include changes to the protection status of and/or opening up of territories to economic exploitation.

Brazilian Indigenous Lands comprise 13.5% of the national territory and are occupied by some 515,000 Indians speaking around 280 different languages. Nearly a fifth of all Amazonian animal and plant populations live within these territories, which retain nearly 25.5% of all carbon stocks in Brazil and have a key role in climate change mitigation.

The researchers found that almost 90% of all indigenous territories retain a higher proportion of native vegetation cover than their vicinities, protecting more than 100 million hectares of forests, savannahs and prairies. Moreover, relatively intact territories harbour nearly 54% of all indigenous peoples living within Indigenous Lands.

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