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Is the Indigenous Common Resource Management System Resilient in the Northwestern Amazon? The Case of Urbanisation in Rio Negro Indigenous Lands (Brazil)

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Eloy, Ludivine; Lasmar, C.
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5680
Sector: Land Tenure & Use
Social Organization
Region: South America
Subject(s): local governance and politics
land tenure and use
indigenous institutions
Abstract: "In the Brazilian Amazon, governance and sustainability of Indigenous Lands are threatened by deforestation and urbanisation, even in the most remote areas. In this study, we analyse the transformations in indigenous common property resource management due to urbanisation. Data were obtained from ethnographic and agro-economic interviews (n=75), combined with a GIS analysis of population, land tenure and landscape distribution in the periurban zone of São Gabriel da Cachoeira, the main town of Upper Rio Negro. In the region, members of a community usually share a territory composed by a large range of resource use rights, ranging from exclusive ownership to common property. Ethnic specializations and individual mobility ensure complementarities in time and space among production activities. Urbanisation was stimulated by missionary, military and trade activities. Private ownership has become the main land-use right in the periurban area. Recognition of the Rio Negro Indigenous Lands, which occurred in 1998, did not, for the most part, question individual rights. Currently, 80% of the 13,000 inhabitants of the town of São Gabriel are indigenous. Because of increasing scarcity of available resources, they have to negotiate land-use rights within their large kinship networks. 73% of the urban families have a multilocal strategy. Due to circular mobility, they have various residences and production units, which are distributed in the urban, periurban and forest areas. They have different land-use rights, including access to communal territory. Diversification of land-use arrangements provides the necessary leeway to guarantee food security in a context of income variability. This multilocal land-use system is an indicator of the resilience of indigenous common property regimes. Since urbanisation processes are intensifying all over Amazonia, sustainable resource management in remote areas depends on the participation of indigenous populations in both urban and forest planning."

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