Community Empowerment and Resilience in La Chinantla, Oaxaca
Indigenous communities in the Chinantla have a long history of socioeconomic marginalization, including government seizure and flooding of community lands without adequate compensation or consultation–generating large displacements. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated deforestation pressure as individuals seek to supplement lost income by extracting trees and biodiversity from the forest.
EcoLogic and FARCO support the communities in their efforts to reduce threats to forests while improving living conditions and economic prosperity. We center our work around their expressed priorities and goals—forest restoration and management. To the communities, the meaning of forest restoration ranges from caring for the land upon which they rely to generating greater economic opportunity. But, at the core, it is about the sovereignty of their community and their connection to the land.
Our approach to forest restoration is innovative because of our focus on not just restoration outcomes but on the development, anchoring, and enhancement of community capacity to generate and manage data as a basis for forest management decision-making. Communities have extensive local knowledge of their forests but lack technical expertise to collect measurements. With the information generated they have been able to access funds from the local government to support their forest stewardship activities.
During the pandemic, they have come together to block road access to the community for outsiders—to prevent exposure to COVID-19 and illegal deforestation by outsiders. EcoLogic and FARCO are redoubling efforts to support forest restoration, sustainable forest income generation, and community-led protection of forests with the use of technology.
Marco Acevedo, Mexico Program Officer, EcoLogic
Barbara Vallarino, Executive Director, EcoLogic
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