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Carbon Density and Conflict: The Overlap

by Kat Clark

September 25, 2012

Trees are in a waterfall near Lacanja Chansayab, a community located in the limits of Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, in Lacandona Rainforest, State of Chiapas, Mexico. Lacanja Chansayab is one of the six communities participating in the REDD+ (Reduction Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation) Programme from the State Government. 06/22/2012

© Ginnette Riquelme / Greenpeace

Forests play a vital role stabilizing Earth’s climate and they are the home of 1.6 billion people who rely directly on forests to provide food and livelihood. The Lacandona Rainforest within the sovereign state of Chiapas in southwestern Mexico has a particularly rich cultural history dating back to Mayan times. The tremendous cultural contributions from the area have been marred by a history of conflict.

A political program called REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation) has direct implications for indigenous peoples and communities rights like those in the Chiapa region.The region’s history of conflict including the lack of clear land tenure rights that exists to this day profoundly impacts efforts to implement REDD+ in the region.

The concept is simple: developed countries provide incentives that help developing countries who need help protecting their forests, thereby reducing the carbon emissions caused by forest destruction. AgoodREDDDeal would help keep the forests while protecting biodiversity and benefit indigenous peoples and communities rights.Chiapas serves as a case study for the REDD project. Forests carbon projects in Chiapas have not clearly demonstrated an ability to deliver equitable social benefits (that improve the livelihoods of local communities).Projects have suffered from poor design that has led to conflicts and excluded resources users – especially women- who lack formal property rights.Greenpeace supports community based management of forests and the active participation of indigenous peoples and local communities in the design and implementation of all forests protection strategies –including REDD.

Read more about how to support these regions and the people who call these forests home.

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