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Commons and Protected Areas in Brazil

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Diegues, Antonio Carlos
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/2118
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Region: South America
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
protected areas
indigenous institutions
property rights
land tenure and use
Abstract: "Conflicts between traditional communities and environmentallly protected areas became one of the main social issues in nature conservation in tropical countries. In Brazil, protected areas, of different types and under different administrations today cover over 600,000 km2, an area larger than many European countries. Inside most of the strictly protected areas such as national parks there are traditional communities, belonging to various sub-cultures such as Indians, 'Caiçaras,' living along the southeastern coast, river communities and 'Seringueiros' (rubber-tappers) who are continuously threatened with expulsion and suffering from the legal constraints related to their traditional activities such as shifting agriculture, fishing, and forest extractivism. In fact, many communities associated with these activities were physicallly expelled and are now living inside slums (favelas). "Many of these communities have developed common property systems in areas where forest extractivism, traditional agriculture, and cattle raising are practiced. As these lands were declared state property through the establishment of national parks and other protected areas, commoners have been deprived of access to their 'commons.' The expulsion and threats regarding traditional communities became even more absurd as Brazil signed the Biodiversity Convention through which countries are called to respect the traditional knowledge and management practices of these communities and to share with them any commercial uses of their knowledge. "This paper analyses the causes and consequences of the application of a conservation model imported from Northern countries and suggests the need for a different approach to conservation in tropical countries that could be called ethno-conservation."

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