Community-managed forestry in Palo Seco, Mexico

Authored by: Andrew Peach , John Devlin

The Routledge handbook of comparative rural policy

Print publication date:  November  2019
Online publication date:  October  2019

Print ISBN: 9781138594111
eBook ISBN: 9780429489075
Adobe ISBN:


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The ejido of Palo Seco is located in Portrero Redondo, a community of 700 people of whom 74 are members of the ejido. The community is located within the Parque Nacional Nevado de Toluca in the state of Mexico about 100 kilometers from Toluca, the state capital. The park was created in 1936 as part of the nation-wide effort to protect forested areas from logging. Although forestry has always been an important economic activity for the community, a forest management permit was not granted until 1996. The approval of the logging permit commits the ejidos to forest conservation and health. All 74 ejido members receive constant and secure employment and have voting rights at the monthly assembly. But all 700 community members are expected to uphold the rules regarding forest usage. In return they receive relatively unlimited access to firewood for the purpose of household consumption and the collection of wild mushrooms for both household consumption and sale. In addition, the community benefits from projects constructed with ejido funds. These benefits include: the construction of churches, a secondary school, and a community auditorium; 46 safer and more stable homes rebuilt to date; a potable water network delivering drinkable water to every home in the community; and an electricity grid now reaching nearly every home. The case demonstrates that a community-managed common property regime can be a successful business while also achieving significant social objectives.

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