Protected Areas and Food Security: Unravelling the Issues

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Recent research has highlighted the contributions of forests and tree-based systems to both dietary diversity and nutrition as well as agricultural production in the form of tree-based ecosystem services. Wild foods provide a significant nutritional contribution to the diets of rural dwellers, the majority of whom would be classified as some of the world’s poorest. In addition, it is now known that agricultural systems in the proximity of natural forest formations can exhibit greater productivity in terms of both yield and resilience to environmental shocks, as well as higher nutritional values. Yet, despite the important human-forest interactions and relative degrees of forest dependency, access to much of the global forest estate is increasingly regulated under the guise of biodiversity conservation. How this restricted access plays out when the ‘right to food’ is a deeply enshrined human right has been deeply contested. This chapter will outline the critical issues related to the right to food in the context of the growing call for the annexation of land for conservation.

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