From communal forests to protected areas: The implications of tenure changes in natural resource management in Guatemala

Silvel Elías
2012 Conservation & Society  
Protected area initiatives have sometimes led to confl icts with indigenous peoples who depend on forests for their livelihoods. This article examines the efforts to promote formal protection in the communal forests of the Guatemalan highlands. It analyses the institutional mechanisms used to create protected areas in the context of a history of profound inequity and of Guatemala's new law recognising the existence of communal lands for the fi rst time. Rather than supporting communal
more » ... ns and land rights, however, conservation efforts have strengthened the role of municipal governments, leading to fundamental changes in local governance and livelihood strategies and displacing community participation in natural resource management. The article responds to the following questions: What is the relationship between conservation discourse and the demands of indigenous peoples? How are the daily local practices of natural resource access and use modifi ed with the creation of protected areas? What implications do these processes have on local territorial management institutions? And how can conservation mechanisms be designed to strengthen indigenous peoples' rights?
doi:10.4103/0972-4923.97487 fatcat:rlznrlonfva2bouisnqwbs2hoe