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Mexico Serves as Global Example for Protecting Forests

13 September, 2012

With the climate change talks in Cancun halfway through,the international community is coming together to develop join solutions for dealing with global warming,reducing greenhouse gases and saving the planet. However,the location itself can serve as inspiration to the entire world as a country that values protecting the environment.

In a recent op-ed piece published in the Huffington Post,Ford Foundation President Luis Ubinas made the case for Mexico's pro-forest policies as an example for other nations to follow.

“Mexico has become a global leader in safeguarding its expansive forests,” he wrote.

The key to Mexico's success with forestation? Letting the people get involved. Over 60 percent of Mexico's forests are owned by communities themselves. Local communities in Mexico are given ownership rights to the forest area right around them. 

Forests are key to limiting the effects of climate change. The carbon dioxide released by the trees in forests is key to curbing greenhouse gas emissions. In addition,forests are homes to hundreds of millions of people and act a source of food,energy,medicine,housing and income 

When communities are able to own and manage the forests around them they have a direct incentive to preserve the land. 

“Mexico's experience in promoting environmental protection and economic development by expanding community rights to forests is a model that other countries can and must follow,” wrote Ubinus.

He cited an example in Ixtlan where local land ownership has helped create a tight community dedicated to managing the forest. The locals have developed a saw mill,tree nursery,timber business and an eco-tourism destination. 

Most importantly,community forestry programs can help slow down global warming by reducing deforestation. Community owned forests have been proven in Mexico to be at least as effective as government preservation programs,if not more.

With Mexico as a blueprint for success,the countries visiting the Cancun for the Climate Change conference can develop their own community forestation programs.

Topics: Mexico