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Review of forest management in co-operatives and community concessions in the Petén, Guatemala

by Portal Web Editor last modified Jan 10, 2013 09:11 AM
Contributors: Tracey Parker, Carteen Yocum

Guatemala granted concessions to communities near the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in order to reduce forest encroachment. The four major players in this effort have been the communities, CONAP, NGOs and CATIE. Initial results have been beneficial for the forest, have increased local appreciation of the forest as a resource and have improved the economic condition of communities. Communities are adhering to recommendations, which has prevented forest encroachment. Progress has been made in achieving land tenure for communities. Complex issues remain to be fully understood and addressed to ensure the long-term success of forest management initiatives. Ecologically, tree species growth and regeneration requirements are not understood, notably for mahogany and Spanish cedar, which are harvested almost exclusively. There may not be sufficient individuals of these species to provide a second harvest in twenty years. Little is known about how to manage for long-term maintenance of the forest’s natural composition and productivity. Economically, the authors recommend that more emphasis be placed on finding markets for timber and non-timber products, certification of these products should be pursued, and secondary tree species need to be harvested. Communities could organize themselves to bargain for higher prices. The progress made in value-added wood processing the wood within the community should be promoted to increase the benefits of forestry in the communities. Socially, increased training in communities would allow more individuals to benefit from forest management activities. Creating local capacity is fundamental to drawing individuals away from traditional agriculture. Distribution of benefits within the communities needs to be improved, as discrepancies have led to violence and death. Communities need to be included in project planning and implementation to a much higher degree than currently practiced.

Author(s): Tracey Parker , Carteen Yocum

Publication Date: 1998

Location: Central America

Download File from Portal: FM Peten.pdf — PDF document, 7,464 kB (7,643,699 bytes)

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