By Rhett A. Butler, www.mongabay.com
December 09, 2009
A rainforest tribe fighting to save their territory from loggers owns the carbon-trading rights to their land, according to a legal opinion released today by Baker & McKenzie, one of the world’s largest law firms.
The opinion, which was commissioned by Forest Trends, a Washington, D.C.-based forest conservation group, could boost the efforts of indigenous groups seeking compensation for preserving forest on their lands, effectively paving the way for large-scale indigenous-led conservation of the Amazon rainforest. Indigenous people control more than a quarter of the Brazilian Amazon.
"This really is a landmark opinion,” said Michael Jenkins, President and CEO of Forest Trends. “What we have been able to demonstrate here is that there will be opportunity and a path forward for indigenous groups to participate in emerging markets from a global warming deal. In fact, the indigenous groups would now be part of the solution."
Baker & McKenzie reached its conclusion based on the Brazilian Constitution and legislation, which "provides for a unique proprietary regime over the Brazilian Indians land... which reserves to the Brazilian Indians... the exclusive use and sustainable administration of the demarcated lands as well as... the economic benefits that this sustainable use can generate." …