Conservation Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon

Conservation Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon
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  Conservation Alliances with Indigenous Peoplesof the Amazon STEPHAN SCHWARTZMAN ∗  AND BARBARA ZIMMERMAN† ∗ Environmental Defense, 1875 Connecticut Avenue NW, Suite 600, Washington, D.C, 20009, U.S.A., email†Conservation International, 1919 M Street NW, Washington, D.C. 20036, U.S.A.  Abstract:  Ongoing alliances between indigenous peoples and conservation organizations in the Brazilian Amazon have helped achieve the official recognition of   ∼ 1 million km  2 of indigenous lands. The future of  Amazonian indigenous reserves is of strategic importance for the fate of biodiversity in the region. We exam- ined the legislation governing resource use on indigenous lands and summarize the history of the Kayapo people’s consolidation of their  > 100,000 km  2 territory. Like many Amazonian indigenous peoples, the Kayapohave halted the expansion of the agricultural frontier on their lands but allow selective logging and gold mining. Prospects for long-term conservation and sustainability in these lands depend on indigenous peoples’ understandings of their resource base and on available economic alternatives. Although forest conservation isnot guaranteed by either tenure security or indigenous knowledge, indigenous societies’ relatively egalitariancommon-propertyresourcemanagementregimes—alongwithadequateincentivesandlong-termpartnershipswith conservation organizations—can achieve this result. Successful initiatives include Conservation Interna- tional’s long-term project with the A’ukre Kayapo village and incipient large-scale territorial monitoring and control in the Kayapo territory, and the Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA) 15-year partnership with the peoplesof the Xingu Indigenous Park, with projects centered on territorial monitoring and control, education, com- munity organization, and economic alternatives. The recent agreement on ecological restoration of the Xingu River headwaters between ranchers and private companies, indigenous peoples, and environmentalists, bro- kered by ISA, marks the emergence of an indigenous and conservation alliance of sufficient cohesiveness and legitimacy to negotiate effectively at a regional scale.  Alianzas de Conservaci´on con Ind´ıgenas del Amazonas Resumen:  Lasalianzasactualesentreind ´ ıgenasyorganizacionesdeconservaci ´ onenelAmazonasBrasile˜ nohan ayudado a obtener el reconocimiento oficial de  ∼ 1 mill ´ on de km  2 en ´ areas ind ´ ıgenas. El futuro del asreservas ind ´ ıgenas amaz ´ onicas es de importancia estrat ´ egica para el futuro de la biodiversidad en la regi ´ on.  Examinamos la legislaci´ on que rige a la utilizaci´ on de recursos en zonas ind´ıgenas y sintetizamos la historiade la consolidaci ´ on del territorio > 100,000 km  2 de la etnia Kayapo. Como muchos grupos Amaz ´ onicos, los Kayapo han detenido la expansi ´ on de la frontera agr ´ ıcola en sus tierras pero permiten actividades madereras y mineras selectivas. Las perspectivas de conservaci ´ on y sustentabilidad a largo plazo en estas tierras depen- den del entendimiento de su base de recursos y de las alternativas econ´ omicas disponibles por parte de los grupos ind´ıgenas. A pesar de que ni la seguridad en la posesi´ on ni el conocimiento ind´ıgena garantizan laconservaci ´ ondelosbosques,losreg ´ ımenesind ´ ıgenasdegesti ´ onderecursosdepropiedadcom´ unrelativamenteigualitarios en conjunto con incentivos adecuados y asociaciones con organizaciones de conservaci ´ on puedenobtener este resultado. Iniciativas exitosas incluyen el proyecto a largo plazo de Conservation International conelpuebloA’ukreKayapoyelincipientemonitoreoycontrolterritorialagranescalaenelterritorioKayapo y la asociaci´ on durante 15 a˜ nos del Instituto Socioambiental (ISA) con habitantes del Parque Ind´ıgena Xingu,con proyectos enfocados al monitoreo y control territorial, a la educaci ´ on, a la organizaci ´ on comunitaria y a alternativas econ´ omicas. El reciente acuerdo, negociado por ISA, entre rancheros y compa˜ n´ ıas privadas, grupos ind ´ ıgenas y ambientalistas para la restauraci ´ on ecol ´ ogica del R´ ıo Xingu marca el surgimiento de una  Paper submitted December 21, 2004; revised manuscript accepted February 7, 2005. 721 Conservation Biology, Pages 721–727 Volume 19, No. 3, June 2005  722  Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Schwartzman & Zimmerman alianza ind ´ ıgena y de conservaci ´ on con la cohesi ´ on y legitimidad suficientes para negociar efectivamente aescala regional. Introduction  Amerindian territories in the Brazilian Amazon comprisemore than 1 million km 2 , or approximately 21% of theBrazilian Amazon (ISA 2004). The territories reside in400 legally recognized “indigenous lands” that are in-habited by some 200,000 people, or about 1% of theregional population (ISA 2004). Twenty-nine territoriesexceed 1 million ha (WCMC 1992). State and federal pro-tected areas comprise about 14% of the Amazon, and 2%(130,000km 2  )oftheregionconsistsofprotectedareasor portions of them that overlap indigenous lands (Ricardo2001).Indigenouslandsencompassamuchbroaderrangeof ecosystem types than all other protected areas com-bined (Peres & Terborgh 1995; Fearnside 2003; Nepstadet al. 2005).Conservationscientistsareincreasinglyconvincedthatindigenous territories, given their size and protected sta-tus, will be a decisive factor in the ultimate fate of Ama-zonian ecosystems (Peres & Zimmerman 2001; Pimmet al. 2001; Schwartzman et al. 2002; Fearnside 2003).Indigenous lands and other protected areas act as theprincipal barrier to forest cutting and fires along the“arc of deforestation”—the front line of forest destruc-tion moving north from the south and southeast of the Amazon—where  ∼  80% of deforestation is concentrated(Alves2002;Nepstadetal.2001;Nepstadetal.2005).TheKayap´o indigenous territories of Par´a and Mato Grossoand the Xingu Indigenous Park provide a striking exam-ple of this barrier effect and show that the presence of  Amerindian peoples has halted an intense wave of defor-estation (Fig. 1) for nearly two decades.Long-termconservationisnotguaranteedbyeitherrec-ognizing Amerindian lands or creating protected areas,but strategies for long-term sustainability differ betweenthe two. Projected new infrastructure investments andagriculturalexpansionintheAmazonarelikelytoincreasedeforestation and pressure on indigenous lands and pro-tected areas alike (Nepstad et al. 2001; Laurance et al.2004).Theselikelythreatswillrequirenewstrategiesandnew investments to both types of areas if their ecologicalintegrity is to be guaranteed. Legislation, Resource Use, and Threats to Amerindian Territories The Constitution of Brazil of 1988 (Art. 231) assures Am-erindian peoples’ rights to their social organization, cus-toms, languages, beliefs, and traditions and to the landsthey have traditionally occupied. The National IndianFoundation (Funda¸c˜ao Nacional do Indio [FUNAI]) isthe federal government agency responsible for uphold-ingindigenouspolicyinBrazil.Althoughindigenouslandsare property of the federal government, indigenous peo-ples are accorded permanent occupation and exclusiveusufruct rights, except for mineral and water rights, which remain under government control. Lands “tradi-tionally occupied” by indigenous peoples are those “per-manently inhabited by them, those used for their produc-tive activities, those indispensable to the environmentalresources necessary to their well-being, and those neces-sary to their physical and cultural reproduction, accord-ing to their uses, customs and traditions” (Constitui¸c˜aoda Republica Federativa do Brasil, Art. 231, Section 1).The legal status of resource extraction on indigenouslands remains ambiguous. Although in 1973 FUNAI man-aged most of the indigenous societies’ relations with the outside world, its guardianship has in practice longsince been superseded. Indigenous peoples now dealfrequently and directly with loggers, miners, local busi-nesses, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs), the me-dia, and state, federal, and municipal agencies and arethemselves largely responsible for monitoring and con-trol of access to their territory. Resource extraction inindigenous areas is usually conducted on an unregulatedbasis, if not flagrantly illegally, and there is currently noinstitutional means to legalize or regulate it. Although in-digenouspeopleshavewonlegalrecognitionoftheirlandrights to substantial territories, legal parameters for re-source use on their lands remain vague. In the absence of clear rules or standards, indigenous groups have adoptedpragmatic approaches that depend on alliances with re-gional, national, and international actors.The Kayap´o case illustrates how indigenous peoplesin the Amazon have won control of substantial territo-ries.ThecolonizationfrontierreachedKayap´olandsearly in the 1980s, and the government became unable to en-force the laws that protect indigenous lands from inva-sion,encroachment,andresourceextractionbythirdpar-ties. Ranchers, colonists, loggers, gold miners, and ille-gallandspeculators,supportedbyroadconstructionthatpromotes frontier expansion, began to flagrantly violatethe integrity of Amerindian lands in southern Par´a andMato Grosso states.In the late 1970s, the Kayap´o numbered around 1300in seven or eight villages in southern Par´a and north-ern Mato Grosso (Bamberger 1979). The only recognizedbut then still undemarcated Kayap´o land was some 2.8million ha surrounding the eastern villages (CEDI 1982). Conservation Biology  Volume 19, No. 3, June 2005   Schwartzman & Zimmerman Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon  723  Figure1. Forest-cover change in the region of Kayapo and Panara indigenous territories between 2000 and 2003. Black lines delimit one Panara and four Kayapo ratified indigenous territories (D. Juhn, M. Steininger, T. Christie,and L. Miller, Conservation International). In dramatic confrontations in the 1980s, the Kayap´o rein- vaded ranches, took hostages, seized river crossings, andexpelled thousands of gold miners from their territory.These actions reinvented their warrior tradition as partof a political and public relations campaign that provedeffective in winning land struggles. During the late 1980sand 1990s, Kayap´o chiefs began to selectively allow ma-hogany logging or gold-mining concessions in exchangefor cash, but they were largely able to prevent outsidersfrom occupying their lands. Ironically, the illegal loggingof mahogany contributed to the persistence of forest inthe southeastern Amazon—the Kayap´o invested part of the returns in protecting their lands.The Kayap´o now number more than 5,000, and their officially ratified territories cover some 11 million ha of continuous forest in Par´a and Mato Grosso. For morethan 20 years, the Kayap´o have almost single-handedly protected their territories from invasion (Fig. 1). But theKayap´o lack the resources for surveillance and enforce-ment to deal with a second wave of deforestation andinvasion spreading out from the Cuiab´a-Santar´em High- way. Most logging in that region is illegal and undertaken without the required management plans (Verissimo et al.1992, 1995, 2002). Loggers reenter forests several timestoremovetimberasmarketsdevelop,roadsimprove,andtransportation costs decrease. These logged forests be-come degraded, are prone to fire, become infested with  vinesandweeds,andloseuptohalfoftheircanopycover (Uhl & Vieira 1989; Verissimo et al. 1992; Cochrane et al.1999).Unlike agriculture, logging and gold mining pose amore insidious threat to Amerindian lands and culturesbecausetheseactivitiesdonotnecessarilyresultinlossof territory. As a result, Amerindian groups may view theseactivities as economic opportunity rather than invasion. Although gold-mining activity on Kayap´o lands taperedoff in the 1990s with declining gold prices, mahogany logging continued until international pressure led to gov-ernment action in 2002. Kayap´o lands were once rich in mahogany (  Swietenia macrophylla  King), the most Conservation Biology  Volume 19, No. 3, June 2005  724  Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon Schwartzman & Zimmerman  valuable timber species on Earth, but after more than adecade of uncontrolled logging, mahogany is scarce. In-evitably,pricesforothertimberspecieswillriseintheab-sence of mahogany as transportation costs decrease with better roads, as regional timber stocks outside Kayap´olands are depleted, and as Kayap´o communities are againpressured to sell timber. Although the light intensity of mahogany logging (  < 1 tree extracted/ha) did not se-riously compromise forest ecology, a higher intensity,multispecies harvest would be permanently damaging(Zimmerman et al. 2001). A recent study by the AmazonInstitute of People and the Environment (IMAZON;Lentini et al. 2004) shows that approximately 25% of Kayap´o lands in Par´a and Mato Grosso are vulnerable tologging of a suite of high-value timber species under thepresent road network. Conservation of Indigenous Societies and  Their Lands  Although necessary, tenure security for indigenous peo-ples is not tantamount to sustainable management. Typ-ically, indigenous peoples will need new institutions tomanage resources (Brandon 1996). But control of accessto resources in frontier no-man’s-land is the sine qua nonof any strategy for sustainability in large tropical land-scapes, and Amerindian peoples have largely achievedthis thus far (ISA 2004). The conservation issue in the Amazon needs to be addressed next. Amerindians in the Amazon generally see animals,plants, rivers, and forests as the basis for reproductionof their societies, although they may have no cultural re-strictionagainstresourceextraction(attimestothepointofexhaustionofaparticularresource;Turner2000).Con-servationists have sometimes oversimplified traditionalknowledge and resource management as benign conser- vation strategies and externally induced change as detri-mental to sustainable practices (Brandon 1996; Berkes2004). Social and cultural change may not always com-promise long-term sustainability, however, whereas whatis considered traditional knowledge may be neither tra-ditional in the sense of ancient and unchanging nor nec-essarily beneficial for the resource base. Both traditionalindigenous institutions and recent social and cultural in-novations have at times enabled environmental gains andat other times have jeopardized the sustainability of theterritories currently protected.For example, Kayap´o social organization was charac-terized recently by intense, often violent factionalismand chiefly competition based on leadership in warfare(Verswijver 1992). The wide geographic distribution of Kayap´ovillagesinthe1970s—thebasisofsubsequentsuc-cessful land claims—is largely a result of this process. Butchieflyrivalry,transposedfromwarfareandritualwealth,led to internal competition for logging and mining dealsandtheapparentwindfallofgoodstheyprovided.Forthe Xicrin Kayap´o people, the historical process of contact with frontier society, which began in the early decades of the twentieth century, was at least as much driven by Xi-crin strategies to access the wealth of outsiders for their own social and cultural motivations as it was by an ex-ternally induced process (Gordon 2003). In the XinguPark, in contrast, traditional knowledge has preserved a wealthofindigenouscultigenswhileimpedingtheassim-ilation of the concept of finite natural resources (Ricardo2001). In sum, traditional or indigenous knowledge may be more hybrid and less static than is often recognizedandmoredynamicandadaptivethanindigenouspeoples’own representations may lead us to believe (Dove 2002;Schwartzman 2005).Indigenoussocietiesdoneverthelessgenerallyconformtothecriteriathatsociologistshaveidentifiedasrequisitefor successful common-property resource managementregimes (Ostrom 1990; Becker & Ostrom 1995; Morrow & Hull 1996; Gibson et al. 2000): (1) clear definition of the resource and its users and the ability of users to sus-tain legal claims to or effectively defend the resourcefrom outsiders; (2) clear criteria for membership as aneligible user; (3) rapid access to low-cost, internally adap-tive mechanisms of conflict resolution; (4) fair decision-makingrightsanduserightsamongusers(asinegalitarian Amerindian society); (5) no challenge to or underminingof institutions created and defined by users by any other authorities; and (6) user communities are accustomed tonegotiating and cooperating with each other. AlthoughAmerindiansocietiespossesstheseattributesassociated with successful common-property regimes,development and predatory resource exploitation fromoutside will exert high levels of pressure. For the long-term preservation of forest ecosystems, Amerindiansneed economic alternatives—congruent with their cul-tural norms—that they can control. Conservation and de- velopmentprojectswithAmerindiancommunities,there-fore, must be designed around normative indigenous val-ues of equity, cooperation, and reciprocity that are ex-pressed in terms of local authority achieved by consen-sus and common-property access, rather than relyingon western normative values of competition, exclusiverights to resources, and centralized management author-ity (Chapeskie 1995). Examples of Conservation Alliances withIndigenous Societies Kayap´ o and Conservation International The Kayap´o have drawn on their social institutions andcollective organization to forge their own forms of re-sistance and accommodation to Brazilian society. Un-like other politically active Amazonian groups, they haveneither joined nor cooperated with any interethnic Conservation Biology  Volume 19, No. 3, June 2005   Schwartzman & Zimmerman Alliances with Indigenous Peoples of the Amazon  725 organization. Historically, Kayap´o leadership was vali-dated by securing resources from beyond the villageboundaries (e.g., leading long hunting treks or raidingthe villages of other Kayap´o or Brazilians). With con-tact, the requisites of leadership changed. Fluency in Por-tuguese,basicliteracyandarithmeticskills,andfamiliarity  with Brazilian administrative and economic institutionsbecame essential assets. During the years of mahogany logging that introduced foreign concepts to the Kayap´osociety, the collective organization of Kayap´o communi-ties remained strong. In several villages that had allowedextraction of mahogany and gold, communal control waseventuallyassertedovertheyoungerleaderswhohadpar-layed their skills as intercultural mediators into politicalandeconomicdominanceinthecommunity.Thiscontrolmeant either that communities stopped extraction activ-ities altogether on their land or made their leaders sharethe profits.Conservation International do Brasil (CI–Brasil) began working with the Kayap´o of a single community, A’Ukre,in 1992, with the objective of giving this community an economic alternative to selling mahogany logs. The A’Ukre conservation enterprise is an ecological research stationandbiologicalreservethatattractsresearchersbe-cause it is ecologically intact with a full complement of timber tree species. The site is protected from loggingandhuntingandisembeddedwithinamuchlargerwilder-nessarea—itselfprotectedfromdeforestation.Ecologicalresearch generates direct benefits for the community inthe form of user fees for communal use, employment,training, and administrative and technical support in theoutside world. Recognizing the benefits from their grow-ing research station enterprise, this community chose tomaintain an 8000-ha mahogany and ecological research reserve in lieu of continuing to sell mahogany for short-term gain (Zimmerman et al. 2001).Once gold mining and mahogany logging on Kayap´olandswasinterrupted,theKayap´obeganorganizingasso-ciations to access support for community needs. Conser- vation International do Brasil provides substantial tech-nical, administrative, and financial support and relatedproject implementation needs for the two main Kayap´oNGOs: Associa¸c˜ao Floresta Protegida (AFP) in Par´a stateand Instituto Raon´ı (IR) of Mato Grosso state. Both or-ganizations are implementing territorial surveillance andconservationanddevelopmentprojects(researchstation,Brazil-nut extraction, and piqui fruit harvest, among oth-ers) with funding obtained principally by CI–Brasil andin partnership with FUNAI. The FUNAI does not havenearly enough resources to uphold its constitutional obli-gation of protecting indigenous peoples and their lands.The NGOs can help fill this gap under the partnershipmodel used by the AFP and by the IR. The role of the AFP, IR, and FUNAI is to support Kayap´o surveillance anddevelopment initiatives as long as they act to preservesocial and environmental integrity. The AFP, IR, Kayap´oleaders, and FUNAI design and help coordinate surveil-lance strategy among guard posts and communities; the AFP and IR support administration, infrastructure, andtraining for implementing the strategy; the Kayap´o per-form the ground surveillance and occupation of their ter-ritory; and FUNAI provides legal authority, coordination,and administration of field activities and involvement of other federal authorities.In addition to ongoing support for the local Kayap´oNGOs, CI–Brasil provides the means for the Kayap´o lead-ership, dispersed across a vast expense of territory, tomeet annually. These meetings serve as a collective fo-rum for achieving consensus, an important principle of Kayap´o society, and unite leadership and reinforce tra-ditional Kayap´o political institutions. Fortified by their institutions, the Kayap´o have been among the most po-litically successful and strongest defenders of indigenousrights of all peoples of the Brazilian Amazon.  Xingu Indigenous Park and Instituto SocioAmbiental Unlike the Kayap´o, the various societies in the Xingu In-digenous Park have not permitted logging or gold min-ing on their territory. The Xingu Park, about 2.6 millionha in northern Mato Grosso, was created in 1961, largely throughtheeffortsoftherenownedindigenists,theVillasBoas brothers. This area is now inhabited by some 3700people of 16 distinct ethnicities and has been continu-ously inhabited for at least 800 years (Heckenberger etal. 2003). The Xingu tribes (Xinguanos) have repeatedly turned back illegal loggers, held and seized the equip-ment of intruders hunting and fishing in the park, anddefended the boundaries of the area from surroundingranchers throughout the 1980s and 1990s, despite ex-pansion of the agricultural frontier around the park. A paternalistic regime of “presents” was instituted by the Villas Boas and continued by FUNAI, whereby chiefs’ al-legiancetoparkauthoritieswasensuredby“gifts”oftradegoods. As the Indians’ need for outside goods grew, thissystem of presents collapsed and opportunities to gener-ate income, outside of a handful of FUNAI jobs and thesale of handicrafts and artwork, were extremely limited.Inthe1980sitwasalsobecomingclearthattheoriginaldesign of the park, leaving the headwaters of the major tributaries of the Xingu River unprotected, was flawed. Water quality began to deteriorate, with increased silta-tion and turbidity (Ricardo 2001). Starting in 1990, oneof Brazil’s principal indigenous rights and environmentalorganizations, the Instituto SocioAmbiental (ISA), set upa project in the Xingu Park and helped the Xingu peoplesorganize the Xingu Lands Indigenous Association (ATIX),in an effort to achieve greater political and economic au-tonomy. ISA and ATIX undertook a territorial monitoringand control project, building and manning control posts,patrolling borders, and maintaining the demarcation of park boundaries. ISA further obtained support for and Conservation Biology  Volume 19, No. 3, June 2005
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