Social participation in forest restoration projects: insights from a national assessment in Mexico

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Eliane Ceccon , Moisés Mendez-Toribio, Cristina Martínez-Garza

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Ecosystem and landscape restoration are increasingly incentivized worldwide, and many countries are demonstrating political will for achieving ambitious restoration objectives. Despite the involvement of all society sectors in restoration activities, projects frequently fall short of addressing the social dimension in their planning, implementation and monitoring phases. In Mexico, 56.3%; of the population lives in poverty, 53.4% of which is indigenous people living in common-pool systems. Therefore, these communities are one of the most important decision-making groups in terms of forest restoration. However, a rigorous survey about the social dimension of forest restoration has never been carried out. In this study we evaluate the degree to which restoration projects in Mexico address social aspects. We analyzed 75 ecological restoration projects. We found that 47% of projects were established in common-pool systems (many in State Protected Natural Areas) and 98.5% were funded by the government. Despite the participation of community members in 86% of the projects, in 78% of them, this participation occurred only during the execution of the restoration actions, leaving the social participation unaddressed during the planning, and monitoring phases. Although, the third most important goal of projects was generating employment, this labor force was temporary and has served only to alleviate social tensions for a short time. The diffusion of restoration projects is still scarce. Thus, this type of social participation cannot make restoration projects fairer and more inclusive, nor do they have the capacity to increase their sustainability and permanence in the future.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

Pre-approved for CECs under SER's CERP program