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Participatory mapping to identify indigenous community use zones: Implications for conservation planning in southern Suriname
- Ramirez-Gomez, Sara O.I., Brown, Greg, Verweij, Pita A., Boot, René
- Journal for nature conservation 2016 v.29 pp. 69-78
- conservation areas, development projects, ecosystem services, forests, governance, in situ conservation, indigenous peoples, land rights, land tenure, landscape ecology, landscapes, livelihood, multicultural diversity, planning, villages, Suriname
- Large-scale development projects often overlap forest areas that support the livelihoods of indigenous peoples, threatening in situ conservation strategies for the protection of biological and cultural diversity. To address this problem, there is a need to integrate spatially-explicit information on ecosystem services into conservation planning. We present an approach for identifying conservation areas necessary to safeguard the provision of important ecosystem services for indigenous communities. “Community use zones” (CUZs) were generated using participatory mapping methods that identify place values indicating significant hotspots for ecosystem services. Using principles from landscape ecology, these areas are buffered to provide connectivity and to delineate ecosystem service delivery areas. We demonstrate the use of CUZs for five villages in southern Suriname (n=191 participants) to inform the South Suriname Conservation Corridor project. The mapped data reveal overlapping hotspots for different ecosystem services depicting multifunctional landscapes that provide an empirical foundation for delineating CUZs. In the absence of legal and traditional land rights for indigenous people, CUZs based on the provision of ecosystem services provide a defensible, spatially explicit approach for integrating indigenous needs into regional conservation plans in southern Suriname. We discuss the utility of CUZ maps for promoting land tenure and security and as a basis for collaborative governance in indigenous and community-conserved areas (ICCAs).