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Environmental Policy and Dynamics of Territorial Appropriation: The Tensions between the Conservation of Tropical Forests and the Expansion of Cattle Ranching in the Mexican Tropics

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Marquez-Rosano, Conrado
Conference: Governing Shared Resources: Connecting Local Experience to Global Challenges, the Twelfth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Commons
Location: Cheltenham, England
Conf. Date: July 14-18, 2008
Date: 2008
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/1324
Sector: Forestry
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): forests--tropics
environmental policy
participatory development
Abstract: "The environment, rather than representing a 'communal resource belonging to all humanity', is a collective heritage in which value and nature acquire meaning at different scales. The renewal of environmental territorial heritages (patrimonies) is the result of complex processes of appropriation, which rest on a complicated set of tensions that involve different practices, interests, projects and expectations that are often deeply contradictory. Beyond the expected outcomes of biodiversity loss and global warming, the loss of tropical rainforests and the expansion of cattle ranching in the Lacandon region puts into focus the importance of geopolitical interests, the ambiguity of environmental policy strategic decisions, the limitations of decentralization policies, the crisis in peasant agriculture, the particular course of regional history (the colonization of the forest, the origin, culture and projects of the its indigenous inhabitants, population dynamics etc.), as well as those tensions and conflicts that both divide and structure peasant communities. "The application of a patrimonial approach invites us to tackle environmental problems from the point of view of the implementation of specific mechanisms of appropriation and the construction of a collective management of inherited territories. In this perspective, the preservation of the Lacandon Rainforest entails the demand for development, as well as the inevitable necessity of the participation, involvement and implication of local populations."

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