FunNature & AnimalIndigenous communities, key to nature conservation

Indigenous communities, key to nature conservation

Who appreciates and knows the land better than the people of the local communities that inhabit it? It may seem logical, however, it has not been so much in the recent history of ecosystem conservation. Although most of the scientific community and politicians agree on the need to work for the protection of biodiversity, not all agree on how or who.

According to a multidisciplinary and intercultural study published in the journal Ecology and Society , the active participation of local communities in conserving biodiversity is essential to guarantee the success of conservation projects. Brendan Coolsaet, coator of the study and professor at the Catholic University of Lille, explains that “until now, no scientific study has really verified whether taking into account the opinions and needs of the people living in these areas actually made it possible to improve the conservation of wild species ”.

Studying the link between local practices and the environment is not easy. In fact, during the project in question, apart from the evolution of the ecosystem (measured with the growth or decrease in the number of species and their populations), psychosociological and economic studies of local communities should be taken into account, through in-person interviews. Of the 3,000 studies analyzed by the team of scientists, only 169 met both requirements.

Analyzing them, the scientists deduced that 56% of the conservation projects carried out under local control had had positive results on the quality of ecosystems and communities. In turn, only 16% of the projects carried out under the control of an external authority, be it a State or an international NGO, were successful.

According to the study, this does not mean that the complete management of a natural space should be left in the hands of local communities, and they emphasize that the key would be to find a balance between international resources and knowledge and the active participation of locals.

So far, the number of failed conservation projects exceeds that of those that have had a positive impact on ecosystems and their people. Despite an increase in protected areas globally, which now cover 17% of the earth’s surface, biodiversity continues to deteriorate and species continue to disappear. The 2030 goal of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) foresees that 30% of terrestrial areas are protected. An objective that will be difficult to achieve if the interest of local actors is not counted or not achieved.

For this reason, Neil Dawson, lead author of the study, concludes that “it is time to focus on who conserves nature and how, rather than what percentage of the Earth to delimit. Conservation led by indigenous peoples and local communities, based in its own systems of knowledge and tenure, it is much more likely to generate positive results for nature. “



Fletcher, M. S., Hamilton, R., Dressler, W., & Palmer, L. (2021). Indigenous knowledge and the shackles of wilderness. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(40), e2022218118. 

Chauveau, L. (2021, September 3). IUCN Congress: what role for local populations in nature conservation? Sciences and the Future.

Koop, F. (2021, September 3). Indigenous and local communities are key for nature conservation. ZME Science.  

Slaves and Disabled: Forced Medical Test Volunteers

The main problem to carry out medical research is to have willing volunteers for it. And if they come out for free, much better. This is the story of unethical behavior in medical research.

How are lightning created?

Summer is synonymous with sun, but also with storms. Who has not contemplated one from the protection that the home gives that electrical display that is lightning?

How global warming will affect astronomy

Astronomical observations around the world will worsen in quality as a result of climate change, according to a new study.

New images of Saturn's rings in stunning detail

New images of Saturn's rings in stunning detail

NASA discovers more than 50 areas that emit exorbitant levels of greenhouse gases

NASA's 'EMIT' spectrometer locates has targeted Central Asia, the Middle East and the US among others.