Sharing Multiple Perspectives on Burning: Towards a Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Policy in Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana

Bilbao, Bibiana; Mistry, Jayalaxshmi; Millán, Adriana and Berardi, Andrea (2019). Sharing Multiple Perspectives on Burning: Towards a Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Policy in Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. Fire, 2(3), article no. 39.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/fire2030039

Abstract

Although there is convincing scientific research for the role of Indigenous fire practices in sustainable land management, Indigenous peoples’ involvement in policy-making is limited. This paper presents findings from a fire management workshop where experiences and perspectives were shared among 60 academic, government, and Indigenous representatives from 27 organizations from Venezuela, Brazil, and Guyana. The data, in the form of small group discussions, participatory drawings, whole group reflections, and videos, showed that although there was general acceptance about the central role of fire in traditional Indigenous livelihoods and its importance for protecting the biological and cultural diversity of ecosystems, there were also tensions around the past imposition of a dominant fire exclusion discourse of governmental institutions in Indigenous territories. Overcoming the gaps derived from different experiences and historical worldviews, and building mutual trust and respect were the main challenges when integrating multiple perspectives through the “intercultural interface” of institutions working on environmental management and governance. The elaboration of a common declaration and next steps in the framework of a “Participatory and Intercultural Fire Management Network”, created during the workshop to enhance a sustainable fire policy, revealed the conviction of working together for Indigenous fire management legitimization and strengthening from all participants of the three countries.

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