Our May issue’s special section on human rights and conservation comprises eight articles written jointly by Indigenous and non-Indigenous authors. Topics include legal battles over rights, the use of participatory video to mediate dialogue and the value of collaboration and mutual respect between international researchers, Indigenous scientists and NGOs. In the lead article, Baka author Timothée Emini and colleagues from the Forest Peoples Programme describe how an Indigenous-led listening event in Cameroon has helped conservation decision-makers better understand the effects of their decisions. The first editorial, by Newing et al., asks how can we advance equitable, rights-based conservation? The second, by Tugendhat et al., emphasizes the importance of respecting the rights and leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in realizing global goals.

Journals play an important role in advancing standards related to rights, and the articles in the human rights and conservation theme of this issue contribute to these advances, including by addressing the right of local and Indigenous people to participate as authors in the peer-reviewed literature.

The issue also includes host of interesting recent news stories in our Briefly and Conservation News sections! Find out more about this issue’s content, including our Editor’s picks.

giek celebrating following the Court ruling.

Ogiek celebrating following the 2022 Court ruling granting the Ogiek collective ownership of their land (find out more in Lucy Claridge’s blog). Photo: Lucy Claridge.

Human rights and conservation

  • Ripples from a single stone: Indigenous mobilization for community tenure-led conservation in Cameroon – Emini et al. (blog post here)
  • ‘We are our land’ – Ogiek of Mount Elgon, Kenya: securing community tenure as the key enabling condition for sustaining community lands – Kenrick et al.
  • Protected areas, Indigenous rights and land restitution: the Ogiek judgment of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and community land protection in Kenya – Claridge & Kobei (blog post here)
  • Video-mediated dialogue for promoting equity in protected area conservation – Mistry et al. (blog post here)
  • Amazonian visions of Visión Amazonía: Indigenous Peoples’ perspectives on a forest conservation and climate programme in the Colombian Amazon – Andoke Andoke et al.
  • Reimagining conservation practice: Indigenous self determination and collaboration in Papua New Guinea – Aini et al.
  • The gap between policy and practice for human rights in conservation: a case study in Papua Province, Indonesia – Barnes et al.
  • The rights way forward: reconciling the right to food with biodiversity conservation – Vasquez & Sunderland

Rebecca Xavier facilitating participatory video in the communities. Photo:: Claudia Nuzzo.

Behind the cover

A Baka woman from Mintom in the South Region of Cameroon harvesting non-timber forest products. The Baka are one of the Indigenous groups represented by Gbabandi, a platform of forest Indigenous Peoples that has initiated a dialogue with key conservation actors to work towards community-led, rights-based conservation. The importance of human rights in conservation is receiving renewed attention through prominent inclusion of rights in the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, which was adopted by the Conference of the Parties to the Convention on Biological Diversity in December 2022.

A Baka woman harvesting non-timber products in Cameroon. Photo: Adrienne Suprenant, Forest Peoples Programme.

Editorials

How can we advance equitable, rights-based conservation? – Newing et al.

Echoing the theme of International Day for Biodiversity 2023, ‘From Agreement to Action: Build Back Biodiversity’, Newing et al. discuss how international decisions such as those in the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework, translate into truly equitable, rights-based conservation, and highlight how the eight articles in the May issue’s special theme present novel tools and ideas for moving forwards.

Respecting the rights and leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities in realizing global goals – Tugendhat et al.

In this second editorial, co-authored by Indigenous people and their allies, Tugendhat et al. reflect on the key achievements secured in the Kunming–Montreal Global Biodiversity Framework and identify ways in which conservationists can support, recognize, and partner with Indigenous Peoples and local communities to realize the ambitions of the agreement.

‘It is imperative that the voices, rights, contributions and leadership of Indigenous Peoples and local communities are centred and uplifted throughout the conservation sector.’

Editor’s picks

  1. Protected areas, Indigenous rights and land restitution: the Ogiek judgment of the African Court of Human and People’s Rights and community land protection in Kenya – Claridge & Kobei
  2. Video-mediated dialogue for promoting equity in protected area conservation – Mistry et al.
  3. Using double-observer surveys to monitor urial and ibex populations in the Hindu Kush of Wakhan National Park, Afghanistan – Moheb et al.
  4. Rediscovering Carduncellus matritensis: assessing the conservation status of an Iberian endemic – Luengo et al.

The Ogiek celebrating outside the African Court on Human and People’s Rights following their landmark judgment. Photos: Forest Peoples Programme and Lucy Claridge.

Other content

  • A new snow leopard record reflects the value of remote protected areas for connectivity – Wingard et al.
  • First successful nest for the Vulnerable American crocodile Crocodylus acutus population on the west coast of Florida, USA – Bertone et al.
  • Exploring the demography and conservation needs of hawksbill sea turtles Eretmochelys imbricata in north-west Mexico –  Martínez-Estévez et al. (blog post here)
A hawksbill turtle in the ocean and on the beach with a tracking device.

Left: A hawksbill turtle in the ocean. Right: Female hawksbill turtle on a beach, with tracking device attached to its carapace. Photos: Sarai Barcenas & Catherine E. Hart.

Conservation news

  • New IUCN Species Survival Commission Parasite Specialist Group launched in 2023 – Hopkins & Kwak
  • Recent illegal killing of Critically Endangered Arabian leopards in Hawf, Yemen – Hikmani & Spalton
  • New global alliance to help improve the practice of biodiversity conservation – Camino et al.
  • Saving the threatened forest fish – Paudel et al.
  • A new record of Turnera stipularis in Amazonia could lead to a misinterpretation of its conservation status – Costa da Silva et al.
  • Nature-based solutions to improve water security in northern Mexico – Gooden & de Rosenzweig

A comparison of (a) a Chinese pangolin (photo: Kushal Shrestha) with (b) a fish (photo: Kumar Paudel) harvested by Indigenous communities in Chitwan-Parsa Complex, Nepal, demonstrates why Indigenous fishing communities describe pangolins as Sal machha (forest fish).

Book reviews

Header image: The intimate link between Indigenous Peoples and their land—a right that needs to be respected in protected area conservation. Photo: Claudia Nuzzo.



Emma joined the Oryx team in 2022 after completing an MSc in wildlife conservation. She has a particular interest in African wildlife conservation and the wildlife trade, and carried out her MSc research on the impact of wild meat hunting on duiker populations in Central Africa. Prior to her MSc, Emma worked in finance before volunteering at conservation organizations and training as a field guide in South Africa.