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.
Scientists hope a new approach to planning road infrastructure that could increase crop yield in the Greater Mekong region while limiting environmental destruction will open dialogues between developers and the conservation community.
New analysis reveals a strong correlation between precolonial institutions in Africa and current levels of deforestation. Researchers suggest that many of these structures still operate at a local level, controlling and exploiting natural resources under the radar of the state, and that such legacies of governance pose a major challenge for implementing conservation policies.
One of the largest area studies of forest loss impacting biodiversity shows that a third of the Amazon is headed toward or has just past a threshold of forest cover below which species loss is faster and more damaging. Researchers call for conservation policy to switch from targeting individual landowners to entire regions.
Prioritising social and economic objectives alongside environmental concerns is crucial in forest management, says Cambridge researcher at the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity.
Innovative approaches for protecting the future of Sierra Leone’s Gola Forest – globally important for its biodiversity and its carbon reserves – are being developed by a collaboration of conservation agencies and University of Cambridge researchers.