, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 703-733

Common Property and Conservation: The Potential for Effective Communal Forest Management Within a National Park in Mexico

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Abstract

Common property regimes may contribute to environmental conservationand offer a complementary institutional model to state-run protected areas. The potential conservation value of common property management is of particular significance in Mexico, where a large majority of forests are held communally. Systems of common property management often exist in a context of close institutional overlap with state institutions. This project assessed the function of a common property regime nested within Lagunas de Montebello National Park (PNLM) in Chiapas, Mexico. We documented forest status and analyzed common property forest management institutions following severe fires that threatened forest conservation. Forests managed by the common property regime are less intact than federal forests, yet still moderately conserved, and many attributes necessary for common property management are functional, despite the recent fire crisis. Yet external authorities contest common property management by local institutions, resulting in limited joint management by the national park and the community. Formalization and expansion of de facto cooperation between the federal and community institutions may enhance forest conservation within PNLM.