Guardians of the Forests
How should an indigenous community in eastern Bolivia defend their land and forests? That question is the focus of a case study by SEAS Professors Ivette Perfecto and Arun Agrawal and their colleagues on gala, the online platform developed by Michigan Sustainability Cases that provides open access learning tools for sustainability science.
The Guarayos indigenous people live on their ancestral land in eastern Bolivia and depend on their extensive forest resources for their livelihood. But in recent years, they have faced increasing pressures on their lands and forests, including the expansion of mechanized agriculture and cattle ranches, settlements of outsiders, decreasing timber price, and lack of support from the state government for their land rights. As the new president of the Central Organization of Native Guarayos Peoples (COPNAG), Daniel Yaquirera needs to find a way to defend the land and forest rights of his people, Perfecto and Agrawal note in their study.
The learning case, which is also available in Spanish, has been published in the peer-reviewed journal University of California Press’s Case Studies in the Environment. It also won an award for inclusion at the 2019 Michigan Sustainability Cases Galaxy Conference.