Community enterprises that manage forest concessions in the Multiple Use Zone (MUZ) of the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in Petén, Guatemala, generate environmental benefits for society and socioeconomic benefits for local communities in return for rights to use and manage resources in the MUZ.
Along with the documented evidence of environmental impacts, the results of this analysis suggest a positive relationship between socioeconomic progress (income, investments, savings, capitalization of community enterprises as well as asset building at household and enterprise level) and conservation of the areas under concession (deforestation rates close to zero in active community concessions).
Forest income, its reinvestment, and access to local and external financing have allowed the community enterprises to diversify activities, generate higher added value, develop new products and insert them into value chains of timber and non-timber forest products.
The combined evidence of the community concessions’ environmental and socioeconomic performance makes a strong case for concession renewal, which is due over the next few years.
The enabling conditions for the management of the concessions by community forest enterprises have improved over the past two decades and provide lessons for strengthening governance in other zones of the MBR and elsewhere in Latin America and beyond.