“Earth provides enough to satisfy every man's needs, but not every man's greed.”
― Mahatma Gandhi
Empower Local Communities
Indigenous empowerment is fundamental to community-based conservation. This applies to ‘indigenous’ in the strict sense of communities with native American culture and identities, but in a broader sense to rural communities rooted, usually for generations, in the areas where the survival of neighboring wild habitats is at stake.
Members of the Colepato indigenous cooperative attend an assembly.
For an agricultural community, having an assured ‘place’ is central to survival. FCT sees the propriety of supporting productivity in situ as a fundamental empowerment of local communities, allowing them wellbeing and security. For this reason, FCT has worked with farmers to improve pasture productivity, establish woodlots and tree boundary lines as sources of wood, generate fodder for cattle within silvopastoral programs, and use forestation to stabilize stream banks.
Anjichu Tenelema attends to his cattle in the paramo. With technical assistance and selected inputs, milk and meat production can rise dramatically for frontier residents, saving native vegetation from conversion.
The environmental consequences of productivity and tenure stability are positive: farmers project the use of their land much farther into the future, and are willing to avoid erosion and invest in the long term fertility and ecological health of their soils; they see value in planting trees because they expect that they or their children will enjoy the eventual benefits; they preserve their headland forests and páramos because these will be eternal sources of water; and they see not only the short-term utility of their land, but its profound and lasting service to their well-being.