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Liguang Community Conserved Area, China


The Liguang Community Conserved Area is located in Liguang Village, Yunnan Province, China. Lisu minority are the indigenous residents. There are about 1,370 people engaged in simple planting and breeding of livestock. The community conserved areas have been under construction since May 2015. By the end of 2017, a total of 12 villager groups' community conserved areas had been established, covering approximately 77 square kilometres, accounting for over 52% of the overall area of Liguang village.

The characteristics of the ICCAs

The indigenous residents in the communities are rebuilding their community governance mechanisms, including by establishing village rules and regulations, in order to increase the sense of community identity for all members of the community, and to achieve common management and supervision of the community conserved areas. While carrying out the construction of community conserved areas, each local community (through the support of local NGOs) acquires more sustainable development knowledge, ideas and technologies. In particular, the communities are beginning to develop ecological agriculture to increase their income, improve livelihoods, and further promote community conserved areas and achieve sustainable regional development.

The process of constructing the ICCAs

The important premise is the consensus among villages on the importance of ecological protection. Villagers have meetings to discuss and make regimes of forestry resource management or ecological protection, identifying methods that do not interfere with production or living and are compatible with sustainable utilisation and ecological protection. It involves the following aspects:

  • Delimit and ascertain the size of the conserved areas: establish areas with clear ecological functions such as forest for water resource conservation, fertiliser source forest, scenic forest, fuel forest, non-commercial forest and river.
  • Formulate corresponding protection provisions: determine how to protect forest and utilise the resources (branches and leaves, pine leaves, mountain soil, medicinal plants, indigenous fish, etc.) within the conserved areas, being as specific as possible, even including discussing when to utilise the resources.
  • Clear rewards and penalties: resolutely punish acts in violation of the protection regulations.
  • At the same time, enlarge the scale of the community supervision and reward the villagers who report these acts.
  • Elect managers in charge: the community holds an election to select the managers to undertake the responsibility. The managers are responsible for receiving reports on violations, organising villagers to prevent vandalism, and reporting to the forestry department to deal with any violations according to law.

The effect of the ICCAs

Community conserved areas have multiple ecological functions. Water resource forests provide clean and safe drinking water for villagers in local communities. Fertiliser source forests accumulate enough organic matter for community villagers to improve and regulate agricultural soils. Scenic forests provide sufficient safety barriers to avoid soil erosion, debris flow and other geological disasters. Fuel forests provide resource storage, supporting sustainable development. River conservation makes the environment more appealing, encouraging local tourism. In addition, endangered plants such as Taxus yunnanensis in the forest area and endangered fish in the river, known as Gymnocypris firmspinatus, are well conserved.

The ICCA peer-review process in China

Liguang Community Conserved Area was one of the first ICCAs in China to go through a locally-defined peer-review process in support of its registration with the ICCA Registry. Through this mechanism, indigenous peoples and local communities support each other's processes of self-determination, helping to build a robust and accurate global registry of ICCAs. More information is available as PDF download at wcmc.io/iccadatamanual.

This case study was originally published by UNEP-WCMC. The content was provided by the custodians of this ICCA. The ICCA has been self-declared and has not been through a peer-review process to verify its status. More details on this process can be found here. The contents of this website do not necessarily reflect the views or policies of UN Environment Programme or WCMC.