Yolanda Ariadne Collins, "Forests of Refuge: Decolonizing Environmental Governance in the Amazonian Guiana Shield" (U California Press, 2024)


Forests of Refuge: Decolonizing Environmental Governance in the Amazonian Guiana Shield (U California Press, 2024) questions the effectiveness of market-based policies that govern forests in the interest of mitigating climate change. Yolanda Ariadne Collins interrogates the most ambitious global plan to incentivize people away from deforesting activities: the United Nations-endorsed Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Forest Degradation (REDD+) initiative. Forests of Refuge explores REDD+ in Guyana and neighboring Suriname, two highly forested countries in the Amazonian Guiana Shield with low deforestation rates. Yet REDD+ implementation there has been fraught with challenges. Adopting a multisited ethnographic approach, Forests of Refuge takes readers into the halls of policymaking, into conservation development organizations, and into forest-dependent communities most affected by environmental policies and exploitative colonial histories. This book situates these challenges in the inattentiveness of global environmental policies to roughly five hundred years of colonial histories that positioned the forests as places of refuge and resistance. It advocates that the fruits of these oppressive histories be reckoned with through processes of decolonization.

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