Special Reporting Project – Land Rights and Extractives


It is increasingly recognized within formal conservation processes that Indigenous peoples and local communities (IPLCs) need to be key players in delivering conservation on a large scale to meet policy goals such as the Aichi Targets of the Convention on Biological Diversity that are critical to sustaining global biodiversity and planetary health.

Efforts to limit climate change and biodiversity loss will need to achieve greatly reduced levels of deforestation relatively quickly. Yet, ILPCs still lack recognition of their traditional lands in many countries, even in places where there is a legal mandate for such recognition. Partly as a consequence of this lack of secure tenure, ILPC land is often targeted for industrial resource extraction, oil and gas development, mining, logging, and infrastructure projects.

Industrial resource extraction is having profound impacts on IPLCs and their lands across the world, which indicates that audiences do not sufficiently understand or appreciate the real underlying processes by which industrial resource extraction continues to occur.

Please review Mongabay’s published stories by visiting the series page Land Rights and Extractives.


Series objectives

The aim of this series is to report how extractive industries (particularly oil and gas, mining, logging, and associated infrastructure projects) impact local communities, Indigenous people, and the health of the environment. Collectively, the stories in this series will provide news and information about the immediate and long-term threats extractive industries present to communities, forests, and wildlife. By including a focus on land rights, Mongabay seeks to improve understanding of how political and economic conditions help determine the financial beneficiaries of extractive industries as well as how the recognition of IPLCs’ land rights influences the performance of conservation initiatives and natural resource industries.

Some suggested story topics and guidelines:

We welcome proposals from experienced journalists for conventional news stories, in-depth features, investigative reports, profiles, and case studies. We will also consider proposals for fully edited and produced videos of up to 10 minutes in length. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • Extractive industries’ practices relevant to ILPCs and the environment such as pollution, land-grabbing, and economic risks in addition to acts of local resistance, divestment, and law enforcement actions.
  • News reporting about actions of decision-makers in sectors relevant to extractive industries, spatial planning, land allocation, and rights recognition.
  • Developments related to land tenure recognition and the role of ILPCs in land management.

Opinion pieces, or commentaries, will not be considered for this project and are not paid opportunities. Please share commentary pitches using this form and refer to submission guidelines here.

Each story will be between 800 and 2,000 words in length and will include quotes from at least three original interviews. Authors will be expected to provide five to 10 publishable photos free for Mongabay’s use to accompany their articles, along with captions and photo credits.

Mongabay will negotiate all fees and contracts on a per-story basis. Completed stories will be paid on a per word or fixed fee basis, with rates depending primarily on the journalist’s experience.  Mongabay.com publishes under an open Creative Commons license that allows for sharing, translation, and re-posting.  More information on Mongabay’s editorial standards and practice can be found here.

How to submit your story pitch

To send Mongabay a pitch, please be prepared to also share your resume/portfolio along with three samples of your work. The story pitch should be roughly 500 words in length and include a title for the project. Viable pitches will clearly explain the specific subject you would like to write about in detail and your approach to covering it, and describe a few potential sources. If you are proposing a story that is led by video, please indicate that and include a short description of your video idea. Pitches for video-led stories should also include an expected shot list and interviews.

Please review the complete guidelines on what to include in your pitch here: https://mongabay.org/programs/news/opportunities/

Please use one of the following regional forms so that the information is directed to the most appropriate editors: