Beyond Nature Appropriation: Towards Post-Development Conservation in the Maya Forest

Beyond Nature Appropriation: Towards Post-Development Conservation in the Maya Forest

Author(s): J.E. Martinez-Reyes

Publication Date: 2014


Key points in document

  • The paper assesses the successes and failures of two main alternative livelihood projects in a Maya community adjacent to the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve, Mexico: one with the parrot trade, another with butterfly handicrafts.
  • While few triumphs came from either livelihood project, the butterfly project successfully involved and empowered women through the handicraft enterprise.
  • The paper offers two reasons for the overall project failure: “(1) a lack of coherence between the objectives of state agencies, conservation NGOs, and the local community; and (2) unequal ethnic relations, reproducing relations of colonial inequality and dictating how indigenous groups can participate in managing a territory for conservation.”
  • Attitudes towards conservation NGOs and the government in relation to conservation projects were negative due to the lack of sustainable benefits produced by the projects. Community members were displeased with the work they contributed to projects just to see them ultimately fail when funding ceased or projects did not eventually meet local needs.

Information relevant to Learning Questions:

Are enabling conditions in place to support a sustainable enterprise?

  • Participants’ Livelihood Needs are Met: stakeholder alignment
  • Market demand, profit potential, access to credit/capital
  • Ownership, governance
  • Government requirements, policies for enterprises, business alliances
  • Technical capacity
  • Benefit sharing, targeted participants, biodiversity linkage, policies for and enforcement of resource use

Does the enterprise lead to benefits to stakeholders?

  • Not addressed

Do the benefits lead to positive changes in attitudes and behavior?

  • Attitudes regarding sustainable use of resources

Does a change in stakeholders’ behaviors lead to a reduction to threats to biodiversity (or restoration)?

  • Agriculture and aquaculture
  • Biological resource use

Does a reduction in threats (or restoration) lead to conservation?

  • Forest ecosystems
  • Species
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