Mexico is a unique case in the world for the development of community forestry. According to the National Forestry Commission (CONAFOR, 2018), 80% of the country's forests and jungles are owned by 8,500 ejidos and rural communities, with a population of 12 million inhabitants.
Forestry is a science destined to the management of forests for cultivation, production and sustainable use of its services. Community forestry refers to the cultivation of a forest, with the social participation of its owners, where the benefits of sustainable use of natural resources contribute to strengthening the processes of community development. Community forestry is protected by the agrarian and forestry legal framework of Mexico.
Producers of the Scolel'te program have plots established with agroforestry systems close to 20 years, which are in a position to organize themselves for the development of community forestry. To learn from the experience of the ejidos that have developed this practice, an exchange of experiences was carried out with four Ejidal Organizations of the Sierra Norte de Puebla, who have worked for nearly forty years in the management, conservation and production of the wood in their ejidos and who received twenty technicians from the Scolel'te program from different regions of Chiapas.
The exchange was organized jointly between the AMBIO Cooperative and the Network of Rural Peasant Organizations (MOCAF Network). The organizations visited in the Sierra Norte de Puebla are part of the MOCAF Network, group that, support and offer services to producers specialized in forest plantations for commercial purposes, environmental services, non-timber forest products, ecotourism, among others.
Ejido Acolihuia is made up of 384 ejidatarios and 3,200 hectares. All the ejidatarios have defined functions in this productive scheme. Representatives of the MOCAF Network and the ejido received the Scolelte technicians in the area of wood management.
With a staggered culture of 1 to 50 years of trees, regular studies of the state of the forest are carried out, in order to know which trees are of age to enter the wood harvesting process (certified) and the cutting stop, in accordance with the recovery rate of the forest. They receive approximately 7 million pesos (Mexico) per year from the sale of the wood.
The Ejido Río Blanco, which also received the Scolel'te team, has a similar scheme for wood management, in addition to the production of trout in hatchery. They have 164 hectares, 60 ejidatarios and they receive an approximate of 5 million pesos (Mexico) per year for the sale of certified wood.
Likewise, the Tuliman Ejido Ecotourism Center, made up of 21 ejidatarios, received the Scolel'te technicians to talk about their experience in the field of ecotourism. The ejido began the commercialization of water from a spring for the production of mineral water. Subsequently, they managed the support for the development of the Ecotourism Center. They highlighted the importance in the organization within the ejido and the needs for continuous training for customer service and maintenance, both in the center and in the reserve.
The Ejido Cruz de Ocote, has 51 ejidatarios and 900 hectares of forest under community management. They have been reforesting for 25 years, with the extraction and commercialization of certified wood. They have a well-defined organizational structure, with oversight of field work, transparency mechanisms and clear administrative processes. This ejido is led by a female Commissariat Ejidal.
Finally, Scolel'te program technicians had the opportunity to share with each of the ejidos they visited, their experiences in the reforestation of plots and forest management for carbon capture, as well as part of their work in carbon monitoring.