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Evaluation of the Maya Biosphere Project

by Rose Hessmiller last modified Jan 10, 2013 12:07 PM

KEYWORD: Community-based Natural Forest Management, Central America. Central America, Guatemala, forest enterprises, non-timber forest products, buffer zone, conservation, protected areas, watershed, Central America, Guatemala, forest enterprises, non-timber forest products, buffer zone, conservation, protected areas, watershed. SUMMARY:This report is an evaluation of the Maya Biosphere Project's (MBP) progress towards achieving its objective to improve the long-term economic well being of local populations through the rational management of renewable resources, and the protection of biodiversity in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. Key findings and conclusions of the evaluation are summarized in the following paragraphs. Project design: The project treats the major institutional, social, economic and political forces operating in the Peten as externalities and not as project components. The recommendation is to develop a policy component to the MBP, beginning with those directly connected to the Peten such as land tenure policies, settlements and refugees, zoning of core, multi-use and buffer zones, infrastructure development, corruption and impunity, and stakeholder analysis. A process must also be initiated to incorporate the important economic and social groups in the Peten, including the church, the army, timber interests, livestock interests and chicleros (gum tappers). Project implementation: The project's current management strategy is a strict protectionist approach to all zones in the Maya Biosphere. The recommendation is to change the management strategy to focus first on the Core Zones and establish conservation stations, control posts, marked limits and patrol. From the Core Zones outward, the strategy is to design a gradual expansion of presence to the multi-use and buffer zones, accounting for the needs of inhabitants who depend on the natural resources. The expansion process must involve identifying the resource users, conflict resolution and a search for consensus among different groups. Project management: The MBP administrative decision-making power is divided between multiple institutions and implementers in Guatemala City and the Peten. The report recommends an assessment to determine the most efficient administrative mechanism. Promising field activities include: Training of primary and secondary teachers and students in environmental education; Agroforestry extension; Technical assistance for management of cooperative forests; Forest enterprise to produce potpourri.


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Date Created: Friday, April 3, 2015 7:18 PM

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