COS 106-4
Social involvement as a key to maintain healthy pine forest in Oaxaca, Mexico

Thursday, August 14, 2014: 9:00 AM
Bondi, Sheraton Hotel
Adrian Poloni, Fulbrigh Garcia Robles
Elvira Duran, Academia Biodiversidad del Neotropico, CIIDIR-Oaxaca, Instituto Polit├ęcnico Nacional, Oaxaca, Mexico
Background/Question/Methods

Recent outbreaks of Dendroctonus sp. bark beetles have drastically increased tree mortality, affected environmental services, and presented associated risks to pine forest ecosystems throughout North American. Sixty percent of Mexico’s forests are under common property regime. Eighty five percent of the state of Oaxaca’s diverse forested lands are under social property regime. The State of Oaxaca is recognized for its social and biological diversity, for being a world leader in sustainable development, community forestry, and conservation strategies. What is the role of forest communities that observe common property in forest health measures? An interdisciplinary investigation was conducted in order to organize and document the role of forest communities in forest health management. This investigation included an extensive synthesis of available academic literature and official government documents as well as qualitative field work observing forest health measures, interviewing community members, and meetings with local authorities.

Results/Conclusions

We analyzed the social and environmental context of Oaxacan forest communities, including the presence of local social organization, governance structures, secure land tenure, commercially viable forests, and presence of community forest enterprises (CFE)  in order to generate the following three models that operationalize forest communities and their relation to forest health management: a) Unresponsive communities, they do not participate in forest health measures due to land conflicts, b) Communities who depend on government intervention for forest health measures and their forests are of low commercial value c) Communities, who organize for themselves to enact forest health measures and absorb costs through their Community Forest Enterprise (CFE). The governance institutions of forest communities are crucial for executing effective and efficient forest health measures. The Sierra Norte of Oaxaca has 33 active CFEs.  Of these, all management for pest control, but  at least 10 have carried pest management with model C.  This model is desirable because a large part of the costs of pest management are absorbed by the communities, following a practice of investment in the forest for future generations. This work describes the participation of local stakeholders in forest health management practiced in common property forests as an effort to document and communicate the impacts of biotic disturbances on ecosystems and socioeconomic processes. This work informs strategies in common property forest management and increased knowledge about the efficacy of current management responses to pests that can be used to design future management responses.