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The Forest Ejidos of South-East Mexico: A Case Study of Participatory Natural Forest Management

Research reports

This paper described a successful communal system of natural forest management supported by the Plan Piloto Forestal project in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Ten neighbouring 'ejidos', communities based on common ownership of a large area of farm land, took over management of local forests from a logging company in 1983. With initial technical assistance from extension agents and GTZ, the ejidos established a new institution, the SPFE, to run the forests. Local technicians were trained and a careful foresterial plan aimed at ecological sustainability was developed. The SPFE quickly adopted an active strategy of negotiating better prices and the inclusion of secondary timber, establishing a competitive rate of return. The success of the arrangement was largely due to the many favourable underlying conditions, which might limit broad applicability, but nonetheless vindicated participatory forest management.

Michael Richards