Increasing international commerce opens up opportunities for environmental cooperation, however it can also intensify pressure on natural resources. Expanding international commerce without active means of fighting deforestation or the loss of biological diversity can result in unacceptable environmental costs. Community land management planning, with the support of a community environmental fund, can generate the kinds of environmental protection measures required.
The project is located in various parts of the Oaxacan mountains, specifically in the areas of influence of four community organizations: Uzachi and Ixeto (forestry), and Cepco and Uciri (coffee production).
Over the last five years, ERAC has developed a flexible management approach allowing four Zapotec communities to define permanent areas for agriculture, forestry and wildlife. Based on this experience, the project seeks to strengthen and foster community mechanisms for rational management and protection of natural resources. In particular, it seeks to broaden the area of participation in long-term community management programs, eventually consolidating protected areas and permanent wildlife areas as well as setting agricultural boundaries. It also seeks means by which the permanent wildlife areas can generate important income for local communities through the development of mechanisms for the sale of environmental services. Economic incentives are an extremely important factor in the preservation of forest cover and wildlife.
The project's objectives are:
- the establishment of an extensive area under community protection, within the territory of the communities that make up the participating producer organizations, and
- the formation of a community environmental fund strengthened by the sales of environmental goods and services (ornamental plants, ecotourism, education) to private entities. Other goods and services, such as the collection of water or seeds for reforestation programs, would be bought by public entities.
The project seeks to develop innovative approaches to the maintenance of biological diversity. The participation of indigenous communities complements the conservation approaches responding to initiatives at the national level such as the National Park System or the Biosphere Reserves. The lessons from this project could be useful in the development of similar plans for maintenance and sustainable use of biological diversity at a national or regional level, as well as complementing local efforts to coordinate actions related to biodiversity.
Estudios Rurales y Asesoría Campesina, A.C.
For more information about this grant, please contact the CEC Secretariat