Indigenous peoples and local communities hold formal rights to 18 percent of global lands — representing well over 20 percent of forest carbon stores and much of the Earth’s biodiversity.
With their important traditional knowledge and vast experience in environmental stewardship, indigenous peoples and local communities are uniquely positioned as conservation leaders.
One of the most effective ways to achieve lasting positive outcomes for nature and people is to partner with indigenous peoples and local communities on shared conservation goals.
Stewards of the Lands and Waters
The natural world is central to the lives of indigenous peoples and local communities, yet complex challenges including the development of natural resources and climate change are threatening the environments on which their livelihoods and cultures depend.
The Nature Conservancy recognizes the significant contributions of indigenous peoples and local communities to conservation. Through collaboration across 27 countries and 750 million acres, we have fostered a shared commitment to environmental stewardship.
The Conservancy’s human rights-based approach to conservation incorporates traditional knowledge and cultural values. Our approach results in tangible benefits, including the conservation and improved management of 200 million acres and measurable benefits to 700,000 people.
- Secure land tenure and resource rights
- Support improved governance and local institutions
- Assist in natural resource mapping, planning and management
- Strengthen livelihoods and sustainable economic development
By strengthening capacity and leadership, indigenous peoples and local communities participate more fully in making the decisions that will shape their futures and the future of the landscape.
The Nature Conservancy is a member of the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights (CIHR), a consortium of international conservation organizations that seek to improve the practice of conservation by promoting integration of human rights in conservation policy and practice.
Who are the best stewards of our natural resources? Learn more.
We are partnering with indigenous peoples in Brazil to develop plans that support indigenous leadership, self-determination and decision-making on the restoration, conservation and sustainable use of their territories.
The Nature Conservancy donates 160 acres of culturally significant land to the Native Village of Tyonek on the shores of Alaska's Cook Inlet.
A New Hope for A New Wild
The New Wild is a place where people and nature thrive together. Check out our stories on how saving nature saves communities in Africa and the opportunity for modern science and indigenous knowledge in Canada.
See how these young leaders in the Great Bear Rainforest are uniting science and tradition to safeguard bears in their traditional territories.
Read this compelling profile of Northern Rangelands Trust’s Tom Lalampaa and learn about how Tom gives back to nature and the community who has supported him from an early age.
The Maui Nui Makai Network is comprised of individuals who are exerting their kuleana (responsibility) to care for the ocean in a way that honors their cultural and traditional practices.
Hear from Tom Lalampaa, Chief Programs Officer for the Northern Rangelands Trust, as he visits New York for the first time to receive the prestigious Equator Prize.
Watch our videos featuring Indigenous leaders from around the world discussing the role nature plays in their lives and the key environmental challenges facing their communities.
We actively partner with Indigenous peoples and local communities to support an inclusive, rights-based approach to conservation—our work spans the globe from the Amazon and Kenya to Canada and Australia.