Africa’s forests at risk if indigenous ‘rebels’ excluded

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Initiatives to restore African forests, decimated by loggers and land-hungry farmers, must include indigenous people if they are to succeed, experts said on Wednesday.

Analysis shows that forest-dwelling communities often sabotage efforts to plant or safeguard trees when they are excluded from them, whereas they can prove valuable allies if they are brought on board, they said.

“When you don’t give a chance to forest people like the Ogiek to own their ancestral land, they feel like they are rebels,” said Daniel Kobei, head of the Ogiek Peoples’ Development Program, which promotes his community in Kenya.

“They feel they are neglected and their rights are not protected, yet this is their ancestral home,” he said at the Global Landscapes Forum, a conference on…

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