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Indigenous people keep carbon locked in forests
“The world has never had such strong evidence of the role of indigenous peoples in conserving the forests that represent the one existing solution to climate change.”
Abdon Nababan, Indigenous Peoples Alliance of the Archipelago
- Local land claims must be protected to stop greenhouse gas emissions from tree felling, forum hears.
Indigenous people prevent carbon emissions through their stewardship of forests and pristine environments, a side event at the COP 21 summit heard.
A study presented at COP 21’s Global landscapes forum showed thatindigenous people oversee around a fifth of the world’s carbon stock, in the form of tropical forests. Altogether, 168 billion tonnes of carbon are stored on indigenous lands — around three times the world’s annual emissions — and this is in danger of being released if the societies looking after these lands are not strengthened, the study found.
“We know that the respect and recognition of indigenous people’s rights, land tenure and traditional knowledge have contributed to more sustainable use and management of various ecosystems and landscapes,” said Grace Balawag, the deputy coordinator of the Indigenous Peoples’ Partnership on Climate Change, Forests and Sustainable Development.
The study was presented at the 5 December event in Paris, France, by an alliance of indigenous peoples’ groups from Africa, Asia and Latin America. It was discussed alongside several research papers and initiatives highlighting the role that indigenous people play in preventing the destruction of forests and the release of large carbon stocks.
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