Community paralegals and land tenure
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Ecuador is characterized by high levels of both cultural and biological diversity. Cultural diversity is expressed not only in clothing, art and music, language and behavioral norms, but also in concrete social realities that include competing interests. The result is a process of questioning and confrontation. That process, however, must be followed by one of negotiation, that is, the clear possibility that the state and its institutions will incorporate the voices of stakeholders belonging to marginalized groups. Conflicts emerge with greater force in times of crisis, and the current situation in Ecuador encourages alternative solutions based on consensus. This task, however, is extremely difficult in light of the diversity of interests involved. The conservation of diverse biological resources is essential to the survival of many human groups. Unfortunately, in many cases the State itself sponsors the irrational exploitation of limited resources.