Renewals and praise for MBR forest concessions


Maya Biosphere Reserve areas not under local forest management have suffered severe woodland loss even though they’re subject to ostensibly stricter land-use rules. (Photo by Jennifer Devine)

Like many Latin American countries, Guatemala has sustained brutal forest losses, with 22% of its woodlands disappearing in just the last two decades, according to government data. Yet Guatemala also boasts one of the region’s most encouraging forest-conservation stories, thanks to its system of community forest concessions in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, located in the nation’s northern Petén region. The reserve covers Guatemala’s portion of the Selva Maya, a highly biodiverse, 4.2-million-hectare (16,000-sq.-mile) woodland expanse that extends into Belize and Mexico and constitutes Mesoamerica’s largest tropical forest. On Oct. 22, 2021, Guatemalan President Alejandro Giammattei traveled to Santa Elena, a lakeside town in the Petén region, to renew the community concessions for 25 years. There are 11 community concessions, two industrial-timber concessions and two additional community concessions that are nearing launch in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR), which covers 2.1 million hectares (8,108 sq... [Log in to read more]

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