Global Ecology and Protected Areas versus Local Commons and Cultural Diversity in the Brazilian Amazon? Mount Roraima between National Park and Raposa-Serra do Sol Indigenous Land

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2002
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"Nature conservation policies in different countries are increasingly linked to global ecological decision making. Examples of such linkages abound, and range from priorities and policy objectives defined in international forums and institutions, to the action of global environmentally concerned NGOs, to global environmental and sustainable development funds and programmes, and new economic opportunities represented by emerging markets for global ecological services and environmental commodities. These policies often conflict with different populations? needs and rights, as the implementation of man-excluding protected areas is given priority over other models of biodiversity conservation and sustainable use. "Brazil is no exception to this rule: today, nature conservation policies are entering in conflict with policies preserving indigenous people?s rights to cultural difference. This is happening at different levels, and in several different local contexts, from the Atlantic to the Amazon and the Guyana Shield regions. Global policy priorities and funding can contribute to explain these conflicts: an analysis of Brazilian internationally funded biodiversity oriented programmes illustrates how the global ecological link contributes to redefine national and local political relations. The case of Mount Roraima National Park, overlapping with the Raposa-Serra do Sol Indigenous Land, illustrates how conservation policies based on man exclusion, such as National Parks, top-down conceived and implemented, harsher pre-existing political and land rights conflicts. The Mount Roraima case also indicates a possible way to viable solutions. By talking, row canoeing and walking with the Ingarikó Indians across the Serra do Sol, their own cultural ecological perspective can be perceived as a fundamental element in natural resource conservation. Their effective common natural resource use and management rules can be the starting point to develop and implement ecologically effective and socially beneficial management plans. Re-directing global willingness to pay for biodiversity conservation to indigenous peoples would contribute to make that happen. "Protected Areas ? Indigenous Lands overlaps in Brazil also raise the issue of state/public versus common property and their role in tropical biodiversity conservation. With the exception of sustainable use protected areas such as extractive reserves, where local populations? natural resource use rights are recognised within a contractual legal framework, Protected Areas ? typically National Parks and other srict conservation categories ? are public property whose administration and management is the task of government agencies and officials. Indigenous Lands are federal public property too, but permanent use rights are recognised to indigenous inhabitants collectively, within a constitutional legal framework where their traditional social organisation is recognised and protected, caracterising Indigenous Lands as commons. A comparative analysis of the relative efficacy of Protected Areas and Indigenous Lands in tropical forest biodiversity conservation, for example on the basis of satellite detected deforestation rates, could provide an indicator of the relative efficiency of these forms of property in effectively promoting biodiversity conservation and/or sustainable use. Likely, a policy efficiency implication of such an analysis could call for global ecological funding for local indigenous commons."
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IASC, conservation, environmental policy, indigenous institutions, common pool resources, protected areas, biodiversity, public--private, land tenure and use
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