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Social Deterioration and Environmental Degradation of Four Woodland Regions in Guerrero State, Mexico

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Merino, Leticia
Conference: Constituting the Commons: Crafting Sustainable Commons in the New Millennium, the Eighth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of Common Property
Location: Bloomington, Indiana, USA
Conf. Date: May 31-June 4
Date: 2000
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/953
Sector: Forestry
Region: Central America & Caribbean
Subject(s): IASC
common pool resources
forest management
governance and politics
indigenous institutions
institutional analysis
Abstract: "As of the late nineties, forests cover 48% of Guerrero State (3,132,854 ha.). During the last 30 years, Guerrero has lost around 50% of the forests it had in the early sixties. The majority of the land in this state, and the vast majority of its forest area, are property of ejidos and indigenous communities. The majority of the forest area of Guerrero is undergoing logging operations, most of which are not performed by forest communities, communities that sustain frequent conflicts and poor benefits from them. In this paper I consider five big forest regions in Guerrero: Costa Grande, Costa Chica, Filo Mayor, la Montaña, and la Cuenca del Río Balsas. Most of the communities in these region live under conditions of severe poverty, which are worsened by lack of roads in most of the mountain areas. "As in other states of Mexico, forests in Guerrero were logged for decades by foreign and Mexican enterprises, in spite of the property rights that local communities held. During the sixties and seventies forests in Costa Grande were under concession to the state enterprise 'Forestal Vicente Guerrero' (FOVIGRO). In the early eighties several communities formed the Coalición de Ejidos y Comunidades de la Costa Grande fighting for the end of the concession of their forests. When FOVIGRO was finally dismantled in 1986, these same communities created the Unión de Ejidos Forestales Hermenegildo Galeana. The main propose of this organization was, and still is, to provide support to the ejidos in developing their own forest operations and industries. "Guerrero faces serious problems related to: the presence of a strong authoritarian structure in the rural areas (caciquizmo), with strong ties to the state and the country's political power, which leads to frequent political violence; the presence and increasing importance of drug cultivation in the forest regions; and strong land tenure conflicts, especially acute in the indigenous regions and communities. For the purposes of this work it is also important to mention as a problem the effects of governmental neglect of the rural and forest sector, at the state and country levels. "These conditions have had serious impacts on the every day life of rural communities, their institutions and also their forest ecosystems. While these impacts are large in the five forest regions, they are more dramatic in the indigenous regions of la Montaña and Costa Chica. In Costa Grande the presence of a regional autonomous organization has helped communities to maintain forest enterprises, and also to control, or at least lower, the impacts of violence and drug cultivation. "This work aims to develop a comparative analysis; trying to understand which have been the main factors leading to forest and social deterioration in these different regions and their impacts on local institutions, particularly those related to forest uses. I also seek to analyze the perspectives for strategies and policies of forest conservation and forest sustainable use in Guerrero State."

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