Indigenous Governance, Protected Areas and Decentralised Forestry : A Comparative Analysis of Two Tsimane' Territories in the Bolivian Lowlands


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Indigenous Governance, Protected Areas and Decentralised Forestry : A Comparative Analysis of Two Tsimane' Territories in the Bolivian Lowlands
Title of the book
Decentralisation Meets Local Complexity : Local Struggles, State Decentralisation and Access to Natural Resources in South Asia and Latin America
Bottazzi P.
Swiss National Centre of Competence in Research (NCCR) North-South
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Bern, Switzerland
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Rist S., Geiser U.
The "territorial historicity" related to the Tsimane' people living in the Boliv- ian lowlands is a complex process involving many governmental and non- governmental actors. The initiative of evangelist missionary organisations at the beginning of the 1990s led to the formal recognition of two Tsimane' territories. While one territory was given a double status - Biosphere Reserve and indigenous territory - the other territory was put directly under the management of indigenous people. Elucidating the historical background of the process that led to the recognition and institutionalisation of the indig- enous territories enables us to understand that the constitution of an indig- enous political organisation remains a voluntary process justified above all by territorial strategies that have been mainly supported by foreign non- governmental organisations (NGOs). Thus, indigenous political leaders are currently struggling to take part in a more formal mechanism of territorial governance emerging from municipalities, governmental forestry services and forestry companies. Faced with the difficulty of reconciling the objec- tives related to conservation, development and democratisation, the differ- ent actors are using ethnic considerations to legitimise their positions. This leads to what we describe as "institutional segmentation", a phenomenon that makes it difficult to set up a form of territorial planning capable of tak- ing into account the diversity of socio-ecological needs. We argue that the role of municipalities should be strengthened in order to better coordinate territorial management, following the diverse socio-ecological logics that exist in the area. This is one of the most relevant stakes of the new Bolivian constitution's concept of "indigenous autonomy".
Indigenous people, territory, Tsimane', forest governance, decentralisation, autonomy, protected areas, Bolivia
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25/10/2012 16:27
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20/08/2019 15:27
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