Archive for the ‘north america’ Category

‘If You Saw It with My Eyes’: Collaborative Research and Assistance with Central American Forest Steward Communities Peter Leigh Taylor, Peter Cronkleton, Deborah Barry, Samantha Stone-Jovicich, Marianne Schmink – CIFOR, Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado, University of Florida, Gainsville, Florida, October 2008

If you saw it reportCommunities are making unprecedented gains worldwide in forest resource access and management rights. A new conservation actor, the forest steward community, is emerging in Central America as an effective collaborator in forest conservation. How best to support and strengthen this community-based conservation actor while minimizing external dependency? This paper discusses an experience with innovative participatory research in Guatemala and Nicaragua that aimed to strengthen community capabilities in natural resource management.

The Grassroots Assistance Project trained community members to document and critically reflect upon local experience with forest management and external assistance. Together with regional context studies undertaken by professional researchers, these local ‘autosystematization’ studies made possible comprehensive documentation of the multiple dimensions of communities’ resource management, identification of their strengths and vulnerabilities and discussion of future strategies. Their endeavours also reveal an emerging alternative ‘accompaniment’ approach to technical assistance, which promotes a high level of partnership between communities and external institutions, in contrast to traditional assistance, which often creates dependency.

Important lessons learned through the project include:

  • Rather than necessarily representing driving forces behind deforestation and
    biodiversity loss, local communities can be effective stewards of the forest while simultaneously pursuing sustainable livelihood strategies. Effective partnerships are necessary between external interests and local communities promoting conservation, especially given the social, political and economic realities underlying conservation in regions like the Petén and Siuna.
  • Local communities are capable of being full partners in generating information and contributing knowledge about development and conservation, and can contribute valuable perspectives through their analysis of their own situation. They need to develop their own accounts and analyses of their experiences with forest access and resource management as a step toward becoming more effective negotiators with powerful external interests.

Download the ‘If You Saw It with My Eyes’: Collaborative Research and Assistance with Central American Forest Steward Communities report [pdf]…


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Carbon payments may not protect biodiversity
EurekaAlert | 7 July 2008

USA: Paying rural landowners in Oregon’s Willamette Basin to protect at-risk animals won’t necessarily mean that their newly conserved trees and plants will absorb more carbon from the atmosphere and vice versa, a new study has found. The study “Efficiency of Incentives to Jointly Increase Carbon Sequestration and Species Conservation on a Landscape“, to be published this month in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, analyzed hypothetical payments that were given to landowners to voluntarily take their acreage out of production for conservation. Scenarios conserving different types of land were also developed. The study then examined the relationship between the absorption of carbon, a contributor to global warming, by trees and plants and the protection of 37 different types of animals under each of these scenarios and payment schemes.

“The main thing we found is that if you want to conserve species, that policy might not be compatible with carbon sequestration. On the other hand, if you want to get carbon out of the atmosphere, it’s not clear that will be good for species.” — co-author Professor Andrew Plantinga, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics at Oregon State University

Read the press release…
Read the abstract…

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