World Rainforest Movement

Protected Areas and High Conservation Value Forests

Creating protected areas has been a ‘colonial’ model of conservation created in the USA and exported to the rest of the world and for over a century provided the dominant paradigm for establishing protected areas. The impacts on indigenous peoples have been dire. Ironically, the impact on the environment has also been severe. Creating protected areas by expropriating indigenous territories, destroying indigenous cultures and making enemies of the local communities not only creates horrendous management problems, but also often disrupts viable, biodiversity enhancing customary systems of land use. Top-down conservation of this kind also exacts a heavy political cost, weakening customary institutions and reinforcing the power of the State, which may all too often lead to abuse of power and human rights violations.

A more recent example of Protected Areas are the so-called High Conservation Value Forests (HCVF) a conceptual tool originally aimed at zoning forested landscapes in order to optimise forest management. Born out of a voluntary certification scheme (FSC), it is now being pushed forward by corporations, governments and big conservation NGOs.



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