1. IntAct focuses on primary forests, does that mean secondary forests are not a priority?
Secondary and degraded forests are often critically important to indigenous peoples’ and local communities and can also have high value in terms of biodiversity, carbon storage and ecosystem services. There are hundreds of millions of hectares in the tropics alone that meet this description. Especially in countries where very few primary forest areas remain, it is urgent to protect and restore secondary forests. IntAct prioritizes primary forests as a matter of principle for the following reasons:
- Primary forests maximize biodiversity, carbon storage and ecosystem services. We are living through linked accelerating biodiversity and climate change crises and these crises have profound social effects. It is essential to maximize conservation and benefits from primary forests.
- The importance of avoiding “the first cut”: once industrial activity and roads or other rights of way move into a tropical forest and begin fragmenting it it becomes much more difficult to protect and conserve.
- Primary forest in smaller remnants are often the foundation for restoration efforts.
However, prioritizing primary forests does not mean that secondary forests should not also be protected and restored.
2. What does “No Go” mean? Does it exclude indigenous peoples or local communities?
“No Go” refers specifically to industrial-scale activities in primary forest. With respect to indigenous peoples and local communities, consistent with the Palangka Raya Declaration, IntAct clearly notes indigenous peoples’ and local community rights to own, use, manage and access primary forests must be recognized at all times, and that designations of “No Go” areas for industrial activity must only be taken with the free, prior and informed consent of indigenous peoples and local communities.
3. Is IntAct an organization?
IntAct is not a registered non-profit or non-government organization. It is an initiative to promote primary forest conservation led by nine organizations that form IntAct’s Steering Committee, and comprising many organizations and individuals who share the objective of primary forest conservation and have signed-on to IntAct’s Statement of Principles.