Community Forest Management in the State of Durango

January 17, 2018
Community Forest Management in the State of Durango

The Mexican Conservation Parliamentary Group (GPCM, the Caucus), ICCF Mexico and POLEA carried out a field mission from January 17th to 19th to enable legislators to learn first-hand the importance for biodiversity and for sustainable development of community-owned and managed forestry companies.

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The Mexican Conservation Parliamentary Group (GPCM, the Caucus), ICCF Mexico and POLEA carried out a field mission from January 17th to 19th to enable legislators to learn first-hand the importance for biodiversity and for sustainable development of community-owned and managed forestry companies.

Senator Ismael Hernández participated in this mission, as did Deputies Teresa Lizárraga, Edna González, Juan Fernando Rubio, José Lorenzo Rivera, Gabriela Hernández and Ricardo del Rivero. Also participating were personnel from the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR) and from different forest communities of the state of Durango. William Millan, Global Policy Director, attended on behalf of ICCF and Andrés Ávila, Executive Director, attended on behalf of POLEA.

In a busy three-day agenda, the members of the Caucus had the opportunity to see how Durango local land-owning communities (ejidos) have built biodiversity and sustainability into the management of their forest resources. The delegation, accompanied by CONAFOR, drove far into the Durango mountains to visit the Forest Supply Basin "Santiago Papasquiaro" and see successes of the Ejido San Diego de Tezains, which has achieved international Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certification while actually increasing its harvest of fine quality lumber on a 15-year cutting cycle. Professional foresters individually mark each tree for harvest, and the ejido sawmill raises the value-added of the wood. The delegation next visited the Sezaric Group, which is a major forest products company owned by 40 ejidos (Tezains among them). Both the ejido and the forest company are profitable and expanding, generating 150 and 200 direct jobs respectively. All the heavy equipment used at the ejido and the company, from power saws to trucks to front loaders to giant wood drying ovens, is imported from the United States. They are also pioneering use of waste lumber biomass for energy production.

As a result of the mission, legislators have expressed a heightened appreciation for the importance of strengthening the legal framework to promote sustainable forest management by local communities – communities that in Mexico own 60% of the forest territories. To facilitate this type of legislative engagement with key conservation issues is the prime goal of ICCF Mexico, supported by a grant from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) via the United Nationals Environmental Program (UNEP).

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