April 11, 2018

10:00pm – 10:45pm

CHS 43-105

Savana Carson, MS

PhD Student, Environmental Health Sciences Department, FSPH, UCLA

“The People of the Forest: Indigenous Voices for Agency, Sustainability, and Health”

About the lecture: Forest conservation is a global strategy for sequestering carbon and mitigating climate change, but the protection of forests can have unintended negative impacts on local populations, particularly on indigenous and other highly forest-dependent populations. Historically, a lack of inclusion of local populations in conservation planning and policy has impacted the cultural integrity and community well-being of local forest-dependent populations. To understand how forest conservation programs and policies have impacted local forest-dependent populations, we conducted first-person interviews with four communities living near the Dja Faunal Reserve in Cameroon, a UN World Heritage Site. Study findings include insights into communities concern for lack of inclusion in forest management, decreased forest resources, desire for sustainable livelihood-based opportunities to promote conservation outcomes, and knowledge of and attitudes towards health challenges and assets. Interviews illustrated distinct concerns from indigenous populations for loss of traditional knowledge and culture, how forest management has affected their livelihood and identified health determinants related to migration, loss of traditional lands, and institutional marginalization. Interviews present local challenges within forest conservation projects and provide evidence for rights-based inclusion of local populations in forest management going forward. Dialogue with local forest-dependent communities helps to gain an understanding of culture, livelihood, the forest-human relationship, environmental health, and self-determinism which are essential to identify opportunities to improve the health and sustainability of these populations in forest management.

About the speaker: Savanna Carson is a UCLA EHS PhD candidate working on her dissertation under the advisors of Dr. Hilary Godwin, Dr. Brian Cole, Dr. Ambrose, and Dr. Kareiva. She works in Pediatric Medical Education at UCLA. “The People of the Forest: Indigenous Voices for Agency, Sustainability and Health”

For more information contact Rebecca Greenberg at rgreenberg@ph.ucla.edu or at (310) 206-1619