Monday, November 22, 2010

A common tragedy has been avoided in Mexico---they CAN see the forest for the trees!! And that is a good thing...

Granting ownership of a resource to the people most vested in seeing it used efficiently will enhance the sustainability of that resource for years/generations to come. When a community sees the government does not care about the sustainability of a resource, then they tend to join in the pillaging of that resource to get what they can out of it as well.  There is no incentive to preserve and conserve. Secure individual or local community rights changes that dynamic.  While this may not work in all circumstances, the world could use a little more of it to avoid the tragedy created by The Tragedy of the Commons.  This is a nice article about the success of transferring private property rights from "the people" to actual people...

NYTIMES: Growing a Forest, and Harvesting Jobs, in Mexico

“We’re the owners of this land and we have tried to conserve this forest for our children, for our descendants,” Alejandro Vargas said, leaning on his machete as he took a break. “Because we have lived from this for many years.”


Three decades ago the Zapotec Indians here in the state of Oaxaca in southern Mexico fought for and won the right to communally manage the forest. Before that, state-owned companies had exploited it as they pleased under federal government concessions.


They slowly built their own lumber business and, at the same time, began studying how to protect the forest. Now, the town’s enterprises employ 300 people who harvest timber, produce wooden furniture and care for the woodlands, and Ixtlán has grown to become the gold standard of community forest ownership and management, international forestry experts say....
View My Stats