Panama’s Supreme Court has ruled much of the largest nature reserve in Central America to Indigenous land claims.
The Naso tribe will share management responsibilities of 400,000 acres of land within La Amistad National Park and Palo Seco Nature Reserve after the court granted them authority to create a comarca: a semi-autonomous tribal kingship, in the two parks. The tribe live in small villages in Northwest Panama where they practice subsistence farming and maintain their own forests, language, and culture.
The biological diversity of Panama has been safeguarded through much of the Industrial Age through stewardship and legal rights of its nearly half-million Indigenous people, who through their comarcas exercise legal authority for forest preservation, for which the government aids them with public funding.
The Naso however only number 3,500, and sit within the most important forest in the country, La Amistad, which was enshrined as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.