Mexico Forest Communities Excel In Capturing Carbon

A study released amid debate over how to reduce the loss and degradation of the world’s most vulnerable forests suggests that negotiators at the upcoming UN climate change conference in Cancun should look to Mexico’s forest communities for a solution.

When allowed to benefit economically from their forests, forest communities in Mexico-made up of indigenous peoples and formerly landless laborers-are able to capture carbon more effectively than any other public or private group working to slow deforestation, according to a comprehensive review by researchers with the Consejo Civil Mexicano de Silvicultura Sostenible (CCMSS, www.ccmss.org.mx) and the Rights and Resources Initiative (RRI, www.rightsandresources.org), a US-based international coalition.

“This study demonstrates that community forest management has become a powerful instrument for achieving forest conservation while reducing poverty in some of our poorest communities,” said CCMSS President Sergio Madrid, a co-author of the report. “The findings also suggest that community-based forestry, when supported by clear and legal rights to timber and other forest resources, is the best strategy for reducing carbon emissions, conserving biodiversity, and lifting earning power.”

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