With maps, Chaco indigenous groups defend land


Indigenous groups in Paraguay are mapping land-use changes in the Chaco region to preserve their land rights and curb encroaching deforestation. (Photo by Ryan Sarsfield)

Few forests in the world are under as much pressure as the Paraguayan Chaco, a vast expanse of dry-thorn woodlands and savannah. There, land clearing consumed more than 3.7 million hectares (9 million acres) during 2001-15, and has gobbled up 200,000 hectares (494,000 acres) annually since. Environmental groups aren’t the only ones concerned. The relentless deforestation has pushed indigenous groups into ever-smaller parcels of land and threatens their legally titled territories, including those inhabited by nomadic peoples living in voluntary isolation. But indigenous organizations are fighting back. In November, the Federation for the Self-Determination of Indigenous Peoples (FAPI), representing 12 groups, unveiled the first online maps of indigenous territories nationwide. In doing so, indigenous communities hope to simultaneously strengthen their land rights... [Log in to read more]

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