Forest concessions gain ground in Petén


When the Maya Biosphere Reserve was created in 1990, local residents like Ernesto Pérez quickly were seen as the enemy. Pérez and some of his neighbors in the town of Suchitan practiced slash-and-burn agriculture, looted Mayan tombs, planted marijuana and trafficked in timber and fauna from the reserve. Fearing for the reserve’s survival, Guatemala’s National Council of Protected Areas (Conap) took a controversial step. It began granting forest concessions to Suchitan and other communities in the reserve’s so-called multiple-use area. The multiple-use area makes up 40% of the 5 million-acre (2-million hectare) reserve, while the rest consists either of a core zone, which is subject to stricter protection, or a buffer zone that includes private property. The idea... [Log in to read more]

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