Challenges to Forest Tenure in Latin America
RRI’s work in Latin America began through a bottom-up Listening, Learning, and Sharing (LLSL) process, which revealed key areas for strategic added value. RRI continually identifies major threats to improving forest tenure through intensive collaboration and engagement with Partners and Collaborators in the region.
Oil, Mining, and Energy Extraction
The geographic concentration of economic interests in forest territories and communal lands is significant. The enormous expansion of subsoil concessions throughout the region’s forests for both mining and hydrocarbon extraction threatens the rights and resources of forest communities, and many cases proceed without the Free, Prior and Informed Consent of local groups.
Large-Scale Agriculture Expansion and Biofuel Production
While tropical forests in Latin America have always experienced deforestation and degradation from large-scale agriculture operations, the increasing value of biofuels and agricultural commodities has accelerated these processes. Plantations of palm, soy, and sugarcane to supply biofuel producers threaten to encroach on the territories of forest communities and reduce access to the land and resources that are vital for their survival.
REDD and Conservation Schemes
Latin America’s large forest endowment and lower forest population densities (relative to Asia) have attracted investors interested in mitigation-offset schemes. Unfortunately, these investors have little knowledge of local tenure rights and livelihoods. With the promise of funding via REDD readiness schemes, further pressure is being put on forest communities. At the same time, the conservation industry is proposing to expand the amount of forestland under protected areas.