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Conservation And Sustainable Use Models, At Guatemalan Protected Areas


Previously the establishment of the Mayan Biosphere Reserve, resources at the area were depredated principally for timber and hunting. Populations with no land certainty used resources with no sustainability guidelines. After the establishment of the MBR not many things changed and government was pushed to create a functional mechanism that reduced the depredation of resources.The concession mechanisms established gave the opportunity to organized communities and private enterprises to participate in the management and sustainable use of resources. After 18 years in practice the concession model gives and area in concession to an organized group, either from communities or private enterprises, for their administration. Each year the government institution responsible for the evaluation of the areas, approves plans presented for forest management. Other activities as hunting, agriculture and tourism are regulated jointly between government and concessionaires.

“Sierra de las Minas” Biosphere Reserve (SMBR): SMBR establish different zones on which different activities are permitted. On this zones communities are established over previous times before the declaratory of the area. To ensure living options for them land tenure is a must and through the legal recognition of land tenure by the government, it has and ally for the protection of strict conservation zones and also ensures living options for populations.

Problem, challenge or context: 

For both cases laws and legal regulations are challenges to overcome for the creation of models and collaborative schemes of protection. As government institutions with all our constraints , budget for continuing the evaluations of the models through time is limited as the same as technicians experts on diverse themes that can give assessment for communities.

Specific elements of components: 
Mayan Biosphere Reserve (MBR)

  • Approaches and dialogues jointly with government, communities, and private enterprises
  • Establishment of requirements to obtain a concession contract
  • Concession contracts
  • Sustainable forest Management Guidelines (workshop with concessionaires) 
  • Annual evaluations for the sustainable forest management 
  • International cooperation
  • Land planning

“Sierra de las Minas” Biosphere Reserve

  • Roundtables of Dialogue 
  • Legal Analyses
  • Establishment of requirements for legal recognition
  • Investigation of History of land tenure
  • Identify all population through census
  • Measurements of area occupied by populations
  • Titles for land tenure
Key lessons learned: 
  • Dialogue with locals
  • Establish Guidelines
  • Cooperation and collaboration with different institutions
Impacts and outcomes: 
Mayan Biosphere Reserve (MBR)

  • Reductions of forest fires
  • Reduction of illegal hunting
  • Resources Sustainable management 
  • Majority of country timber exportations of mahogany come from concessions.
  • Certified forest products
  • Capacities of sustainable management of resources both technical and administrative installed in communities
  • Livelihood options for communities
“Sierra de las Minas” Biosphere Reserve

  • First experience, further evaluations are needed
  • Expectations perceive no more new populations at the area 
  • Avoid land sale
  • Land tenure given should not pass the area established
Contact details: 
Manuel Benedicto Lucas López, National Council of Protected Area (CONAP from Spanish), Guatemala
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