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Friday, 18 November 2016
Recognized but not supported: Assessing the incorporation of non-timber forest products into Mexican forest policy
Published Date October 2016, Vol.71:36–42,doi:10.1016/j.forpol.2016.07.002 Integrating Ecosystem Service Concepts into Valuation and Management Decisions Author
Tzitzi Sharhí Delgado a,,
Michael Keith McCall a,
Citlalli López-Binqüist b,
aPosgrado en Geografía, Centro de Investigaciones en Geografía Ambiental, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM), Antigua Carretera a Pátzcuaro No. 8701, Col. Ex-Hacienda de San José de la Huerta, C.P. 58190, Morelia, Michoacán, México
bCentro de Investigaciones Tropicales, Universidad Veracruzana, Calle Araucarias s/n, Interior de la Ex-hacienda Lucas Martin, Colonia Periodistas, C.P. 91019, Xalapa, Veracruz, México
Received 6 November 2015. Revised 4 March 2016. Accepted 5 July 2016. Available online 16 July 2016.
Forest policy has slowly shifted from a focus on conservation to a focus on livelihoods.
Mexican forest policy is ambiguous when referring to the scale of production of NTFPs.
Lack of formally recognized land tenure limits people's access to support programs.
Forest policy does not consider impacts of conservation actions on forest diversity.
Legal restrictions are complex and inefficient to sustainably manage NTFPs.
Although non-timber forest products (NTFPs) are incorporated into forest policy in Mexico, significant problems related to the importance of NTFPs for rural livelihoods, the ecological impacts from their extraction, and their cultural importance, have not been well articulated. This article explores the integration of NTFPs into forest policy discourse in Mexico as a strategy to support livelihood, conservation and cultural goals. Building on the scientific global literature on the subject, we identified 13 prominent NTFP management questions, including the ecological impacts of marketing NTFPs, the distribution of benefits of NTFP production among local populations, and rights of access to NTFP collection. To structure the analysis of Mexican policy we addressed these questions and processed three general dimensions most relevant to policy implementation - these are associated with the oftentimes competing policy goals of supporting rural people's livelihoods, environmental conservation, and strengthening culture (not only of indigenous peoples, but rural people in general). Subsequently we performed an evaluation of key forest policy instruments in Mexico, based on the three dimensions identified, in the effort to learn how successfully forest policy has integrated these dimensions. We conclude that although NTFPs are integrated into Mexican forest policy, drawbacks to their integration remain, related to the diversity in the nature, scale and marketing of these products, as well as to the diversity of local actors involved.