Conserving lands and the livelihoods of indigenous peoples goes hand in hand. Sustainability includes economic, social, and ecological factors of a region. It turns out, that solving for a sustainable use of land, usually also supports – and many times requires – a sustainable economic and social community too.
Risks: Conservation and Expansion
A common land conservation method is to help small-scale farmers become more efficient. By producing more in a smaller area, they can meet their economic needs without having to clear forests. And by farming in a sustainable way they can be more confident that their lands will provide well into the future. However this method does not prevent farmers from expanding their operations in an effort to increase yield even further.
Expansion from farmers poses a risk to their surrounding ecosystem and their communities. If their regional ecosystem collapses, so will their community.
Agricultural vs Hunter-Gatherer Communities
An additional factor is the relationship between multiple types of indigenous communities. While an agricultural community benefits from improvements in farming methods and technology, a community that relies on gathering needs large swaths of a healthy ecosystem to subsist.
These two community types can sustainably coexist as long as land is properly managed and preserved in the same area, which requires governance of natural lands. Conserved lands must be monitored and protected so that a balance between is maintained.