Regional trends

3.1 Africa

The recognition of communities'forest rights in Africa continues to lag behind progress made in Asia and Latin America, despite positive steps by some countries to legally recognize community-based tenure. As of 2017, less than 31 mha (7.4%) of forests are designated for and owned by communities within the 11 countries assessed - including Angola, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia, Gabon, Gambia, Republic of the Congo, Senegal, Tanzania and Zambia.

The forest area owned by communities comprises 22 mha, or 5.2%, of the total forest area in the above countries. Of these, Angola, Tanzania and Zambia are the only countries with legal frameworks recognizing Indigenous Peoples and/or local communities as forest owners. In Tanzania, the forest area owned by communities through Village Land Forest Reserves, Non-Reserved Forests on Village Lands, Community Forest Reserves and Wildlife Management Areas has increased from 17 mha (32.0% of Tanzania's forest area) in 2002 to 22 mha (45.6% of Tanzania's forest area) in 2017.[1] Nearly 16 000 ha of community forests have recently been recognized under Zambia's 2015 Forests Act, representing the only forests to be legally owned by communities under Zambian national law. In Angola, the area recognized as owned by communities continues to be less than 1 000 ha.[2] Notably, the forest area under Category 3 (owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities) in Africa would undoubtedly be higher if widely accepted and forest-specific data on the significant areas legally owned by communities in Kenya, Mali and Mozambique - three countries with laws[3] broadly recognizing the customary forest ownership of communities without requiring any formal registration of these rights - was available.

The forest area designated for communities within the 11 reviewed countries increased by nearly 9 mha over the 15-year period, but progress since 2013 has been marginal. Whereas 5 mha of forestland was designated for communities between 2008 and 2013, only an additional 0.9 mha of forestland was designated for communities since 2013. Furthermore, Gambia and Senegal both saw a decrease in the forest area designated for communities since 2013. In Gambia, this decrease is attributed to an expansion in agricultural production that reportedly reduced the forest area under community management (Jaiteh, 2015). In Senegal, the passing of a new decentralization law in 2013 transferred forest management authority from the community level to the municipal township level (Gov of Senegal, 2013), thus precluding the only existing legal avenue by which forests were previously designated for communities under the Senegalese national law.

3.2 Asia

The rate of statutory forest tenure recognition for Indigenous Peoples and local communities has progressed modestly across Asia over the last 15 years, with China accounting for most of the gains achieved. Since 2002, the area owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities increased by just under 25 mha across the 13 countries reviewed, including Bhutan, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Mongolia, Myanmar, Nepal, Papua New Guinea, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam. Accordingly, over 85% (21 mha) of the gains in community forest ownership observed in Asia during this period are attributable to expanded recognition of collective forests in China.

Outside of China, progress across the remaining 12 countries has been even more limited, with the forestarea designatedforand owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities increasing only 11 mha overthe 15-year period, from 32 mha (10.1%) to 43 mha (13.7%). Only four of these countries (India, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea and the Philippines) possess legal frameworks recognizing communities as forest owners. After China, Papua New Guinea has the next largest forest area (27 mha) under customary ownership, but recent estimates indicate that 12% of tribal land areas remain under state agricultural business leases (SABLs) issued to third parties for a 99-year period, after which leased forests and other lands revert to communities (Global Witness, 2017).'° in/pdfdownloads/ Acts/CommunityLandAct_27of2016.pdf; Government of Mali. 2000. Code domanial et foncier. Ordonnance No. 00-027 du 22 mars 2000. Art. 43. Available at: http://www.droit-afnque.com/upload/doc/mali/ Mah-Code-2000-domanial-etfoncier-MAJ-2002.pdf; Government of Mali. 2006. Loi No. 06-045-AN/RM portant loi d'orientation agricole. September 5. 2006. Available at: http://extwprlegs1.fao.org/docs/pdf/mli67609.pdf; Government of Mali. 2017. Loi No. 2017-001, du 11 Avril 2017 portant sur le fonciere agricole). Available at: http:// www.fao.org/faolex/results/details/en/c/LEX-FAOC165599.

10 According to a 2017 Global Witness Report. 'While the Prime Minister and Land Minister [of Papua New Guinea] have recently stated that SABLs are illegal and have been cancelled, at the time of writing the government had not issued any subsequent directives to cancel leases or halt operations under them.'

India, Indonesia and the Philippines each exhibited an increase of less than 1 mha in community forest ownership since 2013. Given that the potential for recognition of scheduled tribes and other traditional forest dwellers' rights under the Forest Rights Act in India, and of customary (Adat[4]) forest in Indonesia collectively exceed 80 mha (RRI, 2017b), the current rate of recognition is exceptionally low.

The total forest area designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities increased from 3 mha (0.6%) to 10 mha (2.0%) in the reviewed countries during the 2002-2017 period, with an increase of nearly 3 mha since 2013. Ten of these 13 countries (excluding China, India and Papua New Guinea, which all have legal frameworks recognizing Indigenous Peoples and local communities as forest owners) have legal frameworks designating forests for Indigenous Peoples and local communities. The most notable increase occurred in Mongolia, where over 1 mha of forest has been recognized for community forest user groups since 2013. Finally, legislative advancements in Myanmar since 2013 have set the stage for future progress. The 2016 revision to the Community Forest Instruction expands community rights under Community Forest Concessions to include livelihood development and commercial rights that could incentivize the establishment of new Community Forest Concessions, thereby resulting in additional forest area designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities.

3.3 Latin America

Within the nine countries analyzed in Latin America - Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, and Suriname - the rate of Indigenous Peoples' and local communities' recognition as forest owners increased markedly between 2013 and 2017 as compared to the previous five- year period (2008-2013). The forest area owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities increased from 171 mha (21%) in 2002 to 236 mha (29.9%) in 2017. Indigenous Peoples and local communities acquired legal recognition for the vast majority of these areas prior to 2008, and progress slowed drastically between 2008 and 2013, with less than a 5 mha cumulative increase across Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Honduras and Peru. Since 2013, Indigenous Peoples and local communities have gained ownership over an additional 11 mha of forestland, due to a 7 mha increase in Indigenous Lands and Quilombola Territories in Brazil, 3 mha increase in Indigenous Reserves and Afro-Colombian Community Lands in Colombia, and nearly 1 mha in titles granted to the Miskitu communities in Honduras over the past four years.

Within the same nine Latin American countries, the forest area designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities increased from 14 mha (1.7%) in 2002 to 50 mha (6.3%) in 2017. Changes in forest area designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities since 2013 (just under 6 mha) are attributed to increases in Brazil, Guyana, Honduras and Peru.[5]

The proportion of private forest area within the analyzed LMICs in Latin America as of 2017 (15.4%) far exceeds that of the other regions, with a proportion five times larger than that found across the 13 Asian countries (2.9%) assessed, and 17 times larger than the proportion of private forest area found in 11 African countries (0.9%) analyzed. This wide variance is attributed - in part -to the higher proportion of countries in Latin America that legally allow forests to be privately owned by individuals and firms (8 out of 9 countries, compared to 7 out of 13 countries in Asia and 7 out of 11 countries in Africa). Available data indicates that 15.4% (just over 121 mha) of the total forest area across the nine Latin American countries is privately owned by firms and individuals as of 2017, but trends in private forest ownership since 2013 are especially elusive in Latin America due to a lack of up-to-date data. Honduras is the only Latin American country featured in this chapter, where updated data on private forest ownership was identified since 2013.

  • [1] See endnote 239 in What Future for Reform (RRI. 2014). Village Land Forest Reserves, Non-Reserved Forests onVillage Lands. Community Forest Reserves, and Wildlife Management Areas were classified as 'designated forIndigenous Peoples and local communities'. These community-based tenure regimes have been reclassifiedas 'owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities' based on additional feedback from peer reviewers foradditional information.
  • [2] In What Future for Reform (RRI. 2014). Dominio Util Consuetudinario (Useful Customary Domain) was classified as'designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities'. This community-based tenure regime was reclassifiedby RRI as ‘owned by Indigenous Peoples and local communities' in Who Owns the World's Land (RRI 2015) to betterreflect Angolan law, per peer review guidance.
  • [3] In Mozambique, all lands belong to the state. However, communities have sufficient rights to constitute 'ownership'under this study's methodology. Government of Mozambique. Lei de Terras - Lei No. 19/97 de 1 de Outubro.1997. Art. 3. Available at: http://www.fao.Org/faolex/results/details/en/c/LEX-FAOC015369; Government of Kenya.2016. The Community Land Act. No. 27 of 2016. September 21, 2016. Available at: http://kenyalaw.org/kl/fileadm
  • [4] In Indonesia, indigenous communities are referred to as adat (meaning 'customary'). Throughout this chapter, thetwo terms are used interchangeably.
  • [5] Notably, the area designated for Indigenous Peoples and local communities in Bolivia through AgrupacionesSociales del Lugar decreased by over 1 mha during the 2002-2017 period; however, the area owned by IndigenousPeoples and local communities grew by more than 8 mha over the same period.
 
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