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The Community Forests of Mexico

The Community Forests of Mexico

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  • Book Info
    The Community Forests of Mexico
    Book Description:

    Mexico leads the world in community management of forests for the commercial production of timber. Yet this success story is not widely known, even in Mexico, despite the fact that communities around the globe are increasingly involved in managing their own forest resources. To assess the achievements and shortcomings of Mexico's community forest management programs and to offer approaches that can be applied in other parts of the world, this book collects fourteen articles that explore community forest management from historical, policy, economic, ecological, sociological, and political perspectives.

    The contributors to this book are established researchers in the field, as well as many of the important actors in Mexico's nongovernmental organization sector. Some articles are case studies of community forest management programs in the states of Michoacán, Oaxaca, Durango, Quintana Roo, and Guerrero. Others provide broader historical and contemporary overviews of various aspects of community forest management. As a whole, this volume clearly establishes that the community forest sector in Mexico is large, diverse, and has achieved unusual maturity in doing what communities in the rest of the world are only beginning to explore: how to balance community income with forest conservation. In this process, Mexican communities are also managing for sustainable landscapes and livelihoods.

    eISBN: 978-0-292-79692-8
    Subjects: Environmental Science, Business

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-x)
  3. List of Figures and Tables
    (pp. xi-xiv)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. xv-xviii)
  5. PART I. Introduction, History, and Policy

    • CHAPTER 1 Community Managed in the Strong Sense of the Phrase: The Community Forest Enterprises of Mexico
      (pp. 3-26)

      This book examines the historical and contemporary experience of community forest management in Mexico from a variety of perspectives.¹ As this volume makes clear, the community forest sector in Mexico is large, diverse, and has achieved unusual maturity doing what communities in the rest of the world are only beginning to explore: the commercial production of timber. In most of the world,community forest managementrefers to the management of recovering forestlands or non-timber forest products on government lands. The achievement of Mexican communities in the commercial production of timber from common property forests was largely accomplished over the last...

    • CHAPTER 2 Contested Terrain: Forestry Regimes and Community Responses in Northeastern Michoacán, 1940–2000
      (pp. 27-48)

      In the early days of the rainy season of 1941, leaders of theejidoof El Rosario, Michoacán, wrote to President Manuel Ávila Camacho to tell him about a problem that they had encountered with the neighboring village. The leaders explained that over the past several years they had taken care of the forests on their land reform parcel and done all their logging in strict accordance with federal regulations. But now the neighboring community had requested a grant of some woodlands that the villagers of El Rosario had hoped would be added to their existing land reform parcel. This...

    • CHAPTER 3 Forest and Conservation Policies and Their Impact on Forest Communities in Mexico
      (pp. 49-70)

      Over the past century, forest use in Mexico has been subject to almost continual debate. Both state and federal governments have frequently intervened in the sector, to a much greater degree than in other areas of rural life. These interventions have included direct government participation in logging, the control and concession of resource user rights, regulatory action, and conservation strategies, among others. This paper’s main objective is to analyze the forest policies implemented by various Mexican governments over the second half of the twentieth century and to comment on their impact. The general areas tackled by this research are as...

    • CHAPTER 4 Challenges for Forest Certification and Community Forestry in Mexico
      (pp. 71-88)

      In this chapter we evaluate the development and current status of forest certification in Mexico at the closure of its first decade, from the beginning in 1994 through the end of 2003. It is particularly crucial to analyze the Mexican case since, as we shall see below, Mexico has the largest number of both community forest enterprises (CFEs) and certified community forests in the world (Bray et al. 2003). The first section of this chapter discusses briefly the concept of forest certification and the various schemes that exist at the global level, with a particular focus on the Forest Stewardship...

  6. PART II. Social Processes and Community Forestry

    • CHAPTER 5 Indigenous Community Forest Management in the Sierra Juárez, Oaxaca
      (pp. 91-110)

      In this chapter, the experiences of communities living in the Sierra Juárez, also known as the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, and in particular communities that organized themselves into the Unión de Comunidades Zapoteco-Chinanteca (UZACHI), will be examined. This organization consists of three Zapotec communities and one Chinantec community. Each one of these is autonomous and has its own internal governance mechanisms. Together, they created UZACHI to be a regional body, a union, to support the management of their forests and to face common problems collectively. This is an opportune time to carry out an evaluation of UZACHI, which was established...

    • CHAPTER 6 Empowering Community-Based Forestry in Oaxaca: The Union of Forest Communities and Ejidos of Oaxaca, 1985–1996
      (pp. 111-124)

      In Oaxaca’s recent history (1982–2002), indigenous forest communities have been able to combine a conservationist vision with increased efforts to take advantage of production opportunities offered by a globalized world.¹ The Unión de Comunidades y Ejidos Forestales de Oaxaca (UCEFO) was one of the pioneer organizations in Mexico and in Oaxaca in the effort to create a new form of forest organization for local communities. Their efforts placed Oaxaca in a global leadership position in community forestry and provided an early model for how local and indigenous communities could assume direct stewardship of their forest resources. Although UCEFO succumbed...

    • CHAPTER 7 New Organizational Strategies in Community Forestry in Durango, Mexico
      (pp. 125-150)

      Neoliberal organizing principles of globalization today are overtaking modernist evolutionary paradigms of development. Nation-states now seek first to position themselves in the global economy rather than maximize national welfare (McMichael 1996:26). Trade liberalization policies worldwide promote a model of economic growth in which markets allocate resources via individual actors making rational decisions about privately owned resources. Given the pervasiveness of this powerful neoliberal vision of growth propelled by individual economic rationality, concern expressed for the future social and ecological sustainability of collectively owned and managed natural resources (Ostrom and Schlager 1996) is well justified. This paper discusses indirect impacts of...

    • CHAPTER 8 Community Adaptation or Collective Breakdown? The Emergence of ʺWork Groupsʺ in Two Forestry Ejidos in Quintana Roo, Mexico
      (pp. 151-180)

      In February of 1997 approximately 125 representatives of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, community forestry associations, and others met for four days to discuss the complex challenges facing the forestry sector in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Agenda Forestal de Quintana Roo was organized by state agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with support from the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). In addition to topics such as industrialization, marketing, technical services, and public support, participants examined what they perceived to be worrisome trends regarding the capacity of land grant communities (ejidos) to consolidate community forest enterprises (CFEs). One of...

  7. PART III. Ecology and Land Use Change in Community Forestry

    • CHAPTER 9 Ecological Issues in Community Tropical Forest Management in Quintana Roo, Mexico
      (pp. 183-214)

      The question of whether commercial logging can be carried out in tropical forests without inflicting serious ecological damage has been one of the most contentious issues in tropical forest ecology. Some authors proclaim that management should be left to a minimum (Rice et al. 1997), while others argue that sustainable management systems are feasible (Brünig 1996; de Graaf 1986; Johns 1997;Wadsworth 1997).

      The tropical forests of the Mexican state of Quintana Roo have been marked by well over 100 years of commercial logging of mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla) and Spanish cedar (Cedrela odorata), as well as major deforestation in earlier centuries...

    • CHAPTER 10 Land Use/Cover Change in Community-Based Forest Management Regions and Protected Areas in Mexico
      (pp. 215-238)

      The rapid deterioration of global forest cover in recent years has been well documented (Lambin et al. 2001). Although patterns of change in natural vegetation cover do occur due to natural causes (e.g., hurricanes, volcanic eruptions), it is widely accepted that the majority of today’s environmental degradation is induced by human actions (Cincotta et al. 2000; Vitousek et al. 1997). Human beings are commonly considered the principal agents responsible for increased levels of desertification, deforestation, habitat fragmentation, and loss of biodiversity (Noble and Dirzo 1997). This is particularly the case in tropical regions, where patterns of land conversion from natural...

  8. PART IV. The Economics of Community Forestry

    • CHAPTER 11 Vertical Integration in the Community Forestry Enterprises of Oaxaca
      (pp. 241-272)

      Recent studies reveal the prevalence of common property forests (Agrawal 2002; Meinzen-Dick et al. 2001; Scherr et al. 2002; White and Martin 2002). Common property research predominantly focuses on group-level institutions for managing individual extraction. A much less explored question is when and how local stakeholders respond to market opportunities with collective or group-level production. Stakeholders in forest common lands are presented with choices on marketing their non-timber goods, controlling access to possible pharmaceutical discoveries, seeking carbon sequestration credits, and exploiting timber resources. As an indication of the increasing importance of markets in common property management, there are at least...

    • CHAPTER 12 The Managerial Economics of Sustainable Community Forestry in Mexico: A Case Study of El Balcón, Técpan, Guerrero
      (pp. 273-302)

      The phenomenon of community-based enterprises competing successfully in the marketplace is relatively new, and there is still very little literature on the subject. Community forest enterprises (CFEs) in Mexico represent a particularly interesting example; CFEs are based on the commercial exploitation of timber from common property forests. The economic development literature in general sheds little light on the “community as entrepreneurial firm” (Antinori 2000; see also Antinori, this volume), but it has been suggested that CFEs have a different “logic” from privately owned capitalist enterprises. Community enterprises have multiple goals that may not be shared by noncommunity private enterprises. Private...

  9. PART V. Global Comparisons and Conclusions

    • CHAPTER 13 The Global Significance of Mexican Community Forestry
      (pp. 305-334)

      Amid high rates of forests being lost to agriculture and being degraded from cut-and-run logging, and in the context of demands to respect the land rights of traditional forest inhabitants, the central question currently emerging in forest conservation debates is, “Who can save the forests and what are the necessary social arrangements for success?” As the following review makes clear, the emerging answer is often “community forestry,” where forest inhabitants benefit from forest management and play active roles in forest conservation on forestlands which they have traditionally used or owned.

      In this chapter, we first explore the conceptual justifications and...

    • CHAPTER 14 Community Forestry in Mexico: Twenty Lessons Learned and Four Future Pathways
      (pp. 335-350)

      As the chapters in this book have made clear, the Mexican community forest sector has made historic strides since the 1970s. Until then, almost all Mexican forest communities that produced timber were considered to berentistas—communities simply “rented” their forests to outside loggers, whether contractors or concessionaires. The termrentistareferred to (1) communities that did not participate in any way in the extraction process, commonly not even as loggers, since the outside companies would bring their own crews; and (2) communities that received only an administratively setderecho de monte, or stumpage fee, which was below the market...

  10. APPENDIX: Acronyms Used in the Book
    (pp. 351-356)
  11. About the Contributors
    (pp. 357-362)
  12. Index
    (pp. 363-372)