Indigenous communities of northern Guatemala have been given the right to make a living off their tropical forests, preventing illegal logging and destruction. The project helps save the forest as well as combat poverty.All it took was establishing property rights, and allowing people to exploit them for their own benefit;
For the residents of [the village of] Carmelita, forestry concessions to log, trade and use the forest sustainably has been crucial to their survival. But it’s not just the native population that has benefitted. The forest too has come out a winner.
Whether it’s Carmelita, San Andrés or other poor communities in the Peten, sustainable forestry has proven to the most effective weapon against illegal logging. There are fewer forest fires in areas managed by local communities. And even the biodiversity of the rainforests has been helped through sustainable and long-lasting management that’s calculated in terms of decades and not years.All that's needed now is to establish permanent rights, as the 'concessions' are set to expire and need to be renewed by the government.