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Indigenous and Communal Conservation

Local Voices. Local Action. Global Impact.

There are approximately 370 million Indigenous peoples worldwide. They make up just 5 percent of the global population, but they hold nearly 25 percent of the world’s lands and waters, representing 80 percent of the Earth’s biodiversity. 

The natural world is central to the human rights of Indigenous peoples, as well as their economic, spiritual, physical and cultural well-being. 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 to conservation and collaborates with them to foster our shared commitment to environmental stewardship. Our human rights-based approach to conservation incorporates traditional knowledge and cultural values and results in tangible benefits. We work as a partner, making sure that community needs and local priorities are identified and addressed.

Our programs target urgent threats, secure land tenure and access, support Indigenous rights and improved governance, and strengthen livelihoods. Our initiatives support the rights of Indigenous peoples to participate more fully in making the decisions that will shape their futures.

Learn more about the Global Program of our work with Indigenous Peoples.

Learn more about the Nature Conservancy’s Guiding Principles and the Conservation Initiative on Human Rights. (PDF)

Watch our videos featuring Indigenous leaders from around the world discussing the role nature plays in their lives. Find out how Indigenous peoples are contributing to a healthy planet and learn about the key challenges facing their communities.  

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