Secure community tenure is a critical foundation for equitable and effective forest conservation efforts. Recognizing and respecting customary rights to lands, territories and resources enables more effective stewardship of forests and safeguards human rights.
Globally, the great majority of forest land is formally held by states, despite underlying customary claims, recognized roles and contributions of indigenous and local communities to forest stewardship, and limited contributions of state-controlled forests to local livelihoods. Over the past two decades, there has been a shift towards “tenure transition,” driven largely by social movements, recognition of limited state forest management capacities, and interest to contribute to local livelihood and development. Still, unclear and overlapping tenure remains common in forest areas.