Forests of refuge: decolonizing environmental governance in the Amazonian Guiana Shield

Research output: Book/ReportBook


Forests of Refuge 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.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationOakland, CA
PublisherUniversity of California Press
Number of pages242
ISBN (Electronic)9780520396081
ISBN (Print)9780520396067, 9780520396074
Publication statusPublished - 1 Mar 2024


  • Climate change
  • Colonialism
  • Conservation
  • Forests
  • Guyana
  • Suriname
  • Caribbean
  • REDD+


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