Approaches towards Valuing Local and Indigenous Peoples' Use of 'Non-Timber Forest Products' in the Context of Land Acquistion
Journal article, Peer reviewed
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The undervaluation of traditional harvesting from forest and other lands is a common pattern. This has made many persons claim that certain lands singled out for biofuels projects is ‘not in use’. Such erroneous statements can easily be challenged, but it is considerably more demanding to calculate the overall value of harvesting for local communities. The term ‘ecosystem services’ has gained increased attention, primarily by emphasizing the carbon capture capacity of both forests and other lands. This approach has enhanced the motivation for conserving the land. By acknowledging the need not only to conserve the land, but also allow sustainable harvesting from the land, in accordance with the governing the commons framework, the article identifies the most central human rights provisions and analyse their relevance in order to better acknowledge the importance of non-timber forest products. The emphasis will be on identifying the content and scope of the substantive human rights as they apply to control over and use of natural resources. The relevance of the article is evidenced by FAO’s initiative to adopt Voluntary Guidelines on Responsible Governance of Tenure of Land and other Natural Resources, scheduled to be adopted in 2011. FAO itself says that the Voluntary Guidelines-initiative seeks to build on a human rights approach, which makes the present analysis most pertinent.