• New relationships are needed in order to co-produce knowledge to tackle global challenges.
  • Sharing knowledge across different ontologies can create opportunities to develop new and effective policy approaches.
  • The Paris Agreement cannot be achieved without the meaningful participation of a variety of non-state actors.
  • We identify three approaches through which indigenous ontologies on territoriality are relevant to REDD+.
  • Bringing indigenous territoriality to bear on REDD+ also defends the integrity of peoples who sustainably live in forests.


This study examines traditional indigenous ontologies of territoriality based on a number of indigenous communities in Bolivia and Colombia to show how they can inform effective implementation of REDD+ (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation plus sustainable forest management, forest conservation and enhancing forest carbon stock). This could help address concerns that REDD+ interventions oversimplify local dynamics and complexities. The concept of territoriality subsumes a variety of definitions and conceptions, some of which are embedded in Traditional Ecological Knowledge and represented in the multiple expressions of collective indigenous identity. We compare and contrast Western and indigenous ontologies of territoriality and identify three ways in which engagement with territoriality can enhance REDD+ implementation and effective non-state actor participation.