Description/achievement of initiative
Since mid 2000s, under the supervision of NGOs, donors, and government agencies, community-owned forest enterprises steward over 420,000 hectares in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve.
Source: World Resources Institute (2011) A Compilation of Green Economy Policies, Programs, and Initiatives from Around the World. The Green Economy in Practice: Interactive Workshop 1, February 11th, 2011
Under the supervision of NGOs, donors, and government agencies, community-owned forest enterprises steward over 420,000 hectares in Guatemala's Maya Biosphere Reserve. Each enterprise is responsible for one distinct parcel of land or "concession" that is leased to them by the Guatemalan government. Already, communities in Honduras are replicating the concession model, while government agencies from Nicaragua, Panama, and Peru have hired members of Peten's community-owned enterprises as consultants in sustainable forest management
The benefits of the policies are as follows:
- More than 10,000 people directly benefit from forest concessions and 60,000 receive indirect benefits. Concession employees receive more than double the regional minimum wage;
- Between October 2006 and September 2007, the concessions produced some US$4.75 million in certified timber sales and close to US$150,000 in sales of xate (palm leaves used for flower arrangements) and other non-timber forest products;
- A share of the revenue from forest products was used for community projects such as installing water supply systems and paying school fees;
- Communities received legal rights to manage and harvest forests and security of tenure via 25-year management leases;
- By 2006, a total of 6,839 members of community enterprises had received intensive training in forestry and business management and in technical skills;
- Diversity of birds, animals, and insects has been maintained or enhanced;
- Environmental services payments to communities for avoided deforestation and carbon sequestration are under negotiation;
- Reductions in forest fires, illegal logging, and hunting.