Indigenous fire management and protected areas in Guyana

Recent studies show that Indigenous peoples manage or have tenure rights over a quarter of the world’s land surface, which intersects with over 40% of all terrestrial protected areas and ecologically intact landscapes. Understanding Indigenous land management practices, such as fire, therefore, are becoming increasing important in a context of changing climate, loss of traditional knowledge, and calls for extending protected areas across the globe.

This PhD project investigates changing fire management practices of the Indigenous people living in and around the Kanuku Mountains Protected Area in southern Guyana. In particular, it looks at the changes in social-ecological relations and land management practices, including administrative and land policies and climate trends within a historical context.   It focusses on the fire calendar; the different months and seasons of fire, and how these relate to current cultural practices with implications for land management (including fire) across a myriad of land tenure systems and ecosystems in savanna/forest dynamic. The project involves a mixture of data collection techniques including archival research, remote sensing, participatory methods, ethnographic field methods and interviews.

Project duration: 2019-2023