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What Conservation Efforts Can Learn from Indigenous Communities

A recent report from the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) reveals that "nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history." This harrowing statistic is not without a glimmer of hope. Annie Sneed's May 2019 article for Scientific American distills information from the report and highlights one of the key takeaways: Indigenous people, the original inhabitants, owners, and caretakers of land, continue to implement better land stewardship practices than other models. Per the report, "at least a quarter of our planet's land is owned, used, occupied or managed by Indigenous peoples," and a significant portion of that land is "terrestrial areas with very low human impacts." To improve overall conservation efforts, it is crucial to incorporate Indigenous leadership and practices. These practices include: creating species-rich habitats, managing lands through traditional burning techniques, and restoring areas of land degradation. As the article concludes, it is time for a new type of conservation, one "with respect for human rights of the peoples who are living there, who are managing these areas." Readers may also want to browse the IPBES media release and summary of the report itself, linked near the beginning of the article.
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