Marcus Colchester, Ph.D.


Marcus Colchester, Ph.D.
Marcus Colchester
Forest Peoples Programme
World Rainforest Movement UK
City, State, ZIP
1c Fosseway Business Centre, Stratford Road Moreton-in-Marsh GL56 9NQ
United Kingdom
[email protected]
Award year


Project Details

Colchester used his Pew award to address the problem of balancing the social needs of indigenous communities, which are undergoing rapid social and economic change, with their environment. He aimed to develop a practical, problem-solving approach to help indigenous communities evaluate the environmental implications of their changing livelihoods and take appropriate institutional measures to establish control. The ultimate goal was not just to help specific communities solve their long-term environmental management problems but also to help identify replicable approaches to stimulate this kind of problem-solving on a wider scale.

As a result of his efforts, in March 1997, Colchester held a conference on indigenous peoples and protected areas in Latin America. The conference was funded by the European Commission, DANIDA and SIDA and involved international participants including indigenous people, anthropologists and representatives of three major conservation organizations. They looked at 15 case studies from throughout Latin America which were in turn analyzed and commented on by a panel of conservationists and indigenous peoples.


Marcus Colchester's primary work has focused on securing indigenous people's rights to their lands and livelihoods by pressing for policy change at grass-roots, national and international levels. His initial work at the national level in Venezuela focused on indigenous land rights, health, bilingual education and development policy. Colchester also initiated a successful process to establish a protected area in the Upper Orinoco.

His work with the World Rainforest Movement concentrates on promoting indigenous networks and supporting indigenous control of forests at the same time that he presses for changes in development policy and projects that threaten these objectives.


World Rainforest Movement



Ph.D., Oxford University
1982: Social Anthropology, England

Diploma, Oxford University
1977: Ethnology, England

Master of Arts, Oxford University
1974: Zoology, England


Responsible Forestry Programme
1992: Advisor

Venezuelan Government
1991: Honorary Adviser on Amazon Development

UK Tropical Forest Forum

Ecologist magazine
Associate Editor


Marine Fellow
1994: Pew Fellows Program in Conservation and the Environment

SSRC Ruggles-Gate Trust and Emslie-Hornimann Foundation Awards


  • Colchester, M. 1997. Mapping Against Power: The Upper Mazaruni Land Claim in Guyana.. In: 'Representing Communities Histories and Politics of Community-based Resource Management, Helen, Georgia. Presented to the conference on: 'Representing Communities Histories and Politics of Community-based Resource Management.' June 1-3, Unicoi Lodge
  • Colchester, M. 1996. Beyond participation: Indigenous peoples, biodiversity, conservation and protected area management. Unasylva. Issue 4
  • Colchester, M. 1996. The social ecology of the Sanema Indians. Scientia Guaianae. March Issue
  • Colchester, M. 1995. Student Abilidad y toma de decisiones en el amazonas venezolano: los yanomamis In: la reserva de la biosfera del alto- orinoco-casiquare. In: Amazonas Modernidad en Tradicion. Caracas, p. 141-174
  • Colchester, M. and F. Watson. 1995. Venezuela: Violations of indigenous rights. Report to the international labor office on the observation of Ilo convention 107. World Rainforest Movement, Survival for Tribal Peoples
  • Colchester, M. 1994. Salvaging nature: Indigenous peoples, protected areas and biodiversity conservation. UNRISD Discussion Paper, No. 55, Geneva Switzerland
  • Colchester, M. 1994. Sustainability and decision-making in the Venezuelan Amazon: The Yanomami in the Upper Orinoco-Casiquiare Biosphere Reserve. Amazonas (SADA-AMAZONAS), World Rainforest Movement World Rainforest Movement
  • Colchester, M. 1994. Sustaining the forests: the community-based approach in south-east Asia. Development and Change 25(1): 69-100

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