Mexican forest communities seek business benefit from climate laws

5 June 2014

IXTLÁN DE JUÁREZ, Oaxaca, México (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - In the mountain birthplace of Latin America’s venerated 19th century indigenous reformer and Mexico’s 26thpresident, Benito Juárez, Zapotec communities like his are distinguishing themselves with award-winning, world-class forestry projects regarded as vital for climate stability.

Yet Mexico’s trailblazing climate-change legislation, together with its reforms in forestry and energy, have done little to reward indigenous people for their contributions to curbing carbon emissions and keeping nature in balance, according to participants in community-managed forestry efforts.

“The climate change law isn’t disseminated - it isn’t something the community members know about, and it doesn’t take them into consideration,” said Oscar Méndez, an accounting adviser for Ixtlán de Juárez.

This community, named after the tough fiber ixtle obtained from native succulents and the only indigenous person to serve as Mexican president, is a pioneer among 38 that have got together to form a tree-farming association in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca.

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