The Search for Legal Remedies
Edited by Randall S. Abate and Elizabeth Ann Kronk
Chapter 8: REDD+ and indigenous peoples in Brazil
The Brazilian Amazon encompasses one-third of the world’s remaining forest and is home to hundreds of thousands of indigenous peoples who depend on the forest for much or all of their basic sustenance, as well as their culture. The Amazon also stands as an exceptionally important element of developing an effective global response to climate change. The forest, as a whole, holds approximately 9 to 14 billion tons of carbon and, thus, halting its destruction is a globally significant mitigation priority. At the same time, Amazon ecosystems and the peoples who depend on them face a substantial risk of severe impacts from climate change, presenting a clear focal point for forest and indigenous peoples’ adaptation efforts. It is in this context that Brazil, including its indigenous population, is engaging the emerging REDD+ mechanism that seeks to provide payments for reducing carbon emissions through the avoidance of deforestation. Brazil is fast becoming a world leader in developing national and subnational REDD+ frameworks. The implications of this development for indigenous peoples are highly controversial and reveal not only the risks and potential benefits of REDD+, but also the need for cultural sensitivity and fine-grained contextual understanding of the indigenous peoples who live in the regions that may be affected.
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