This report documents biological resource use by indigenous Wapishana communities in Guyana. It also discusses opportunities and challenges associated with implementing the Convention on Biological Diversity's guidelines on protecting indigenous rights to land and resources. It was a collaborative effort between the Forest Peoples Programme and eight indigenous researchers, with 16 villages involved in contributing data.
The study shows that the Wapishana have a body of norms and beliefs that govern resource use and promote sustainable extraction. It also shows that the Wapishana employ a mixture of shifting cultivation, hunting, gathering and fishing as well as non-traditional agricultural practices such as cattle herding in some areas. They use an extensive area, with people using land up to 35km from villages. Land and resources are traditionally held and managed collectively. It is hoped that the project will contribute to a dialogue between the Wapishana, the Guyanan government and other organisations to promote Wapishana control over more of their lands, and the communal holding of land.