Today’s Solutions: December 08, 2022

We have written at length, in great volume, and with great enthusiasm about the importance of green spaces in cities, carbon sinks, and environmentally helpful trees in general. Forests are absolutely essential to sequestering carbon and our continued adaptation to a changing climate, but some forests, as it turns out, sequester carbon better than others. 

A new study from the World Resources Institute and Climate Focus found that Indigenous-held forests sequester twice as much as those owned by states and private parties. 

Environmental stewards

The study looked at data from Global Forest Watch and the Landmark of Indigenous-held forests in Peru, Colombia, Brazil, and Mexico. These countries’ forests are among the most biodiverse ones in the world, and they’re home to a spectrum of life, not just plants but animals and insects too. 

The study investigated the amount of carbon dioxide released and trapped by forests in Indigenous lands compared to other forests and found that on average the Indigenous Forest trapped twice as much as the others. The most drastic comparison was in Brazil, where non-Indigenous land emits about 10 metric tons of carbon dioxide per hectare while Indigenous lands absorb about 30 metric tons per hectare. 

Researchers also discovered that 92 percent of these Indigenous lands were net sinks, meaning that they absorb way more carbon than they emit. 

Righting an environmental and humanitarian wrong

The problem is that Indigenous people are so often excluded from decision-making processes that affect their own lands. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has even put a stop to demarcations of Indigenous lands so that he can open up more lands for development. Things are changing, though. 

The study’s authors advocate for the stop of all deforestation, not just in Indigenous lands because preserving Indigenous forests may mean logging national forests elsewhere, in a process known as “leakage.” The study also pushes for the inclusion of Indigenous people in climate action. In South and Central America, some countries, such as Panama, have enacted laws to protect forests and empower Indigenous people with protected and protective rights. 

Source Study: Forest Declaration Platform — Sink or swim: How Indigenous and community lands can make or break nationally determined contributions – Forest Declaration.

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

7 ways to support your sober/non-drinking friends this holiday season

Holiday celebrations often involve alcohol. This can make things difficult for non-drinkers, whether they're sober for life or are pursuing sobriety for health or other ...

Read More

Indians recently planted 250 million trees—while socially distancing

India is committed to keeping a third of its total land area under forest and tree cover. In recent years the country has mobilized ...

Read More

Could crocodiles help defeat hearing loss?

Around 1.5 billion people worldwide live with impaired hearing, this can create significant problems for these individuals and often reduce the perceived quality of ...

Read More

Earthworms: a natural solution to farms’ wastewater

Royal Dairy in Royal City, Washington has a problem that's common to dairy farms. The hundreds of millions of gallons of water used by ...

Read More