Course:FRST270/Wiki Projects/UZACHI a Community Forestry initiative in Oaxaca Mexico

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UZACHI, a Community Forestry initiative in Oaxaca, Mexico

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Description of the community forestry case study – Where located; history; national or regional context (if appropriate)

This case study focuses on Oaxaca state of Mexico, focusing more elaborately on Ixtlan de Juarez in the Sierra Notre Region. The state of Oaxaca is a very diverse region with sixteen different Indigenous ethnic groups (Bausser, 2008, P. 3). The area of Sierra Notre is predominantly Zapotec and Chinantec, having a strong sense of tradition and culture. This region has had a long struggle with colonialism, but is known for its resistance, which shows through their community forestry initiatives. As described by Ashton and Asbjornsen’s, ‘Community Forestry in Oaxaca, Mexico’, colonialism impacted the people of Mexico during the 15th century when the Aztecs came, but the “Oaxaquenans resisted invasions” (Ashton and Asbjornsen, 2002, P. 2) and held on to old ways of living, including governance and tradition. The fact that the Oaxaquenans were able to hold onto identity throughout violence and stolen land is huge in describing community forestry today. The fight to sovereignty over forests is an ongoing issue dating back to the 15th century and brings a personal touch to the impersonal perspective that the federal government has in relation to land ownership. The people of Oaxaca having authority over their forests creates a legal mindset that Indigenous communities are able to take care of their own economies and governance that encompass land ownership Indigenous communities are not going anywhere and should not be seen as primitive anymore.

The land itself is quite diverse in terms of wildlife and vegetation. Forests cover thirty-one percent of the state (Rodolfo, 2005, P. 111) and are seventy percent of forests are pine and/or oak “and the remaining thirty percent comprises various types of tropical vegetation” (Ashton and Asbjornsen, 2002, P. 3). With the majority of the land being pine and oak, the area brings in a lot of interest of logging companies. Logging timber has been a significant part of Mexico’s economy and many small and large timber companies have come in with the Federal government’s permission in the past before community forestry initiatives have taken place.

Tenure arrangements

Tenure arrangements. Describe the nature of the tenure: freehold or forest management agreement/arrangements, duration, etc.

Administrative arrangements

Administrative arrangements. Describe the management authority and the reporting system.

Affected Stakeholders

Social actors (stakeholders, user groups) who are affected stakeholders, their main relevant objectives, and their relative power

Interested Outside Stakeholders

Social actors (stakeholders, user groups) who are interested stakeholders, outside the community, their main relevant objectives, and their relative power


A discussion of the aims and intentions of the community forestry project and your assessment of relative successes or failures. You should also include a discussion of critical issues or conflicts in this community and how they are being managed


Your assessment of the relative power of each group of social actors, and how that power is being used


Your recommendations about this community forestry project


Antinori, C., & Bausser, G. C. (2008). Ownership and Control in Mexico’s Community Forestry Sector. Economic Development & Cultural Change, 57(1), 101.

Asbjornsen, H., & Ashton, M.S. (2002). Community Forestry in Oaxaca, Mexico. Journal of Sustainable Forestry, 15(1), 1-16. Doi:10.1300/J091v15n01_01

Barsimantov, J. A. (2010). Vicious and Virtuous Cycles and the Role of External Non-Government Actors in Community Forestry in Oaxaca and Michoacán, Mexico. Human Ecology, 38(1), 49-63. doi:10.1007/s10745-009-9289-3

Gill, Peter. (2007) Community Forestry in Oaxaca: An Assessment of the Level of Autonomy in Forest Decision-Making and it’s Environmental and Economic Importance.

Fernandez-Gerez, Patricia and Guzman-Alatore, Enrique. (2005). Community Forests of Mexico. Chapter 4: Challenges for Forest Certification and Community Forestry in Mexico. Austin. University of Texas Press.

López-Arzola, Rodolfo. (2005). Community Forests of Mexico. Chapter 6: Empowering Community-Based Forestry in Oaxaca: The Union of Forest Communities and Ejidos of Oaxaca, 1985–1996. Austin. University of Texas Press.

Mitchell, R. (2006). Environmental Governance in Mexico: Two Case Studies of Oaxaca's Community Forest Sector. Journal of Latin American Studies, 38(3), 519-548. Retrieved from

The World Bank/IFC/M.I.G.A. Office Memorandum. (1999) ‘Mexico-Indigenous and Community Conservation of Biodiversity (Oaxaca, Michoacan, Guerrero- PDF Block B request