A recent study, co-authored by Kathryn Baragwanath, a PhD student at the University of California, finds that lands held by Indigenous Peoples are better protected from environmental destruction than other areas of the forest. In the Brazilian Amazon illegal forest clearing and the setting of illegal fires threaten the longevity of the forest. This study recognizes the role of Indigenous communities in biodiversity conservation and recommends that guaranteeing collective property rights and, ultimately, “homologation” over the forested land to Indigenous communities is key to ensuring legal protection over the forest. However, this will require a more complex solution, as practical realities such as political agendas and economic pressure continue to trigger illegal activities. Photo credit: Andre Penner/AP