Collective Forest and Protected Area Management in Areas of Conflict: Integration of Technical, Juridical and Social Approaches in the Creation of a Model of Administration of the Protected Areas of the Valley of the Cauca, Colombia

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"The Department of the Valley of the Cauca, located in south west Colombia, is a biodiverse territory, in which the Choco and northern Andes encounter, possessing a unique cultural diversity which leaves no doubt about the necessity of having a structure of natural support where the protected areas are fundamental elements. According to this experience, for an adequate management of it, communities must be involved in higher instances of decision making, so, from the year 2002, the Autonomous Regional Corporation of Valle del Cauca (CVC), a government entity, began the consolidation of the Departmental System of Protected Areas for the Valley of the Cauca (SIDAP), which consists of 8 local discussion tables and 234 stakeholders in 25 protected areas. The system is presented as a case study that considers an institutional form to manage a complex common, as are the protected areas. All of the conceptual agreements obtained in the Sidap process can be exemplified in the Reserva Natural Especial RNE “Néstor Córdoba Camacho”, a afrocolombian community reserve. Black (Afrocolombian) communities established in the Pacific region of Colombia in the period between 1500 and 1600, when Spaniards brought them from Africa. Nowadays, their descendants have established a new cultural identity, similar from the African roots, but adapted to the life in the new continent. One key step was promoted by black leaders, with the creation by the Government of a law in 1993 that gave the black community the collective property of the land, giving power to the recently created black community councils, each one possessing real territories, where the establishment of protected areas is promoted (six already declared). This land tenure pattern in black communities is unique in South America, and in this presentation some insights are given about it, considering it as a type of institutional and policy change required for managing multi-functional commons at different scales: local and regional."



protected areas, conservation, community forestry