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Focus on... Common resources

The livelihoods of three-quarters of the world's poor depend on their immediate surroundings: the sea, rivers, forests, pastures, and wetlands. But climate change, increasing populations and a growing world demand for food, fibre and biofuel is putting many of these common resources at risk.

Moreover, access and property rights for indigenous communities are often not formally recognised. Some areas are even regarded as 'wastelands' of little productive value - despite the provision of much-valued food, fodder, fuel and medicine to the communities that rely on them. In this edition, we focus on some of the threats, benefits, constraints and opportunities faced by communities worldwide, from the forests of Uganda and Mexico, to the 'wastelands' of India, the wetlands of Bangladesh, and the ranglelands of Kyrgyzstan and Kenya, and beyond.

Liquid assets: restoring the wetlands of Bangladesh

Liquid assets: restoring the wetlands of Bangladesh

Bangladesh has made an international commitment to protect its wetlands for future generations, but fishermen have seen their catches decline. To help restore productivity the Bangladesh government and USAID have been working with local people to develop a community-based solution.

Date published: November 2008

Oil, toil and trouble bubbling - India's jatropha tussle

Oil, toil and trouble bubbling - India's jatropha tussle

Plans to transform millions of hectares of India's so-called 'wastelands' into biofuel plantations have met fierce opposition from those who see the lands as a lifeline for the rural poor.

Date published: November 2008

Common land, shared success in Kenya

Common land, shared success in Kenya

A system of rangeland management in the southern Rift Valley of Kenya is attracting international interest. By dividing their land into zones for grazing, crops and conservation, Maasai pastoralists are striking a balance between nature and nurture.

Date published: November 2008

Rescuing Kyrgyz pastures - a high level priority

Rescuing Kyrgyz pastures - a high level priority

Kyrgyzstan's high summer pastures face damaging encroachment by weeds and moss because of under-grazing. But one group of farmers, whose animals graze in the Kashka Suu gorge, have set up an association to rescue the precious pastures from decline.

Date published: November 2008

Clearing a path for Mexico's community forests

Clearing a path for Mexico's community forests

Communal tenure has a long history in Mexico but it was only relatively recently that constitutional reforms gave communities clearer ownership over their forests and new opportunities to manage them. An increasing number of indigenous communities are now legally harvesting and processing their own timber.

Date published: November 2008

Struggling to conserve the Mabira Forest

Struggling to conserve the Mabira Forest

A government proposal in 2006 to clear a significant proportion of Mabira Forest in Uganda for sugarcane plantation was successfully opposed. But challenges remain if community restoration of the forest is to be maintained.

Date published: November 2008

A winning combination for community conservation

A winning combination for community conservation

New and innovative initiatives are needed to protect common resources around the world. Two different community-based approaches - from Ghana and Indonesia - have been recognised for their conservation efforts.

Date published: November 2008

 

 

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