Changing paradigms in a changing climate: adaptive innovation towards forest management institutions to manage tropical forest in South and Southeast Asia
Paras, Floribel D.
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Some communities in the tropics traditionally protect natural habitats for their cultural and material sources, for example, in a form of sacred sites and as a communal forest. These natural habitats play an important role in biodiversity conservation which maintain through indigenous institutions that do not require involvement of conservation organizations or government bodies. These indigenous institutions regulate through customary laws and belief systems led by community elders and traditional religious leaders. Evidence from our three research sites in south and south east Asia i.e., Matiranga in eastern Bangladesh, central Maluku in eastern Indonesia, and Palawan in the Philippines are presented here to highlight on these accounts. We used different methods i.e., participatory rural appraisal, personal observations, focus groups discussion and content analysis to elicit knowledge of the communities on how they conserve and manage their forests. Our result indicates that existing indigenous forest management institutions which are closely related to local people’s belief systems served as enabling agents to manage forests. These belief systems play an important role in monitoring of forest uses, and community leaders use to impose sanctions on the transgressors. As a conclusion, reinforcing these indigenous institutions is one of the forest management alternatives to mitigate future deforestation and degradation in the tropics. Indigenous management institutions can be strengthened by 1) backing their culture and conservation activities through giving recognition at government level, 2) establishing sustainable livelihood sources for communities living around the forests that can mitigate the overexploitation.Paper summary on page 439.