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Professionals broadened their knowledge of community forest management in Guatemala
- CATIE developed a course in Petén, Guatemala to show experience in community forestry developed for more than 20 years in this department
October 4, 2019. In order to broaden the knowledge of professionals from more than five countries on community forest management, CATIE (Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center) in conjunction with the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP, its Spanish acrony), taught the first international course entitled Methods and Tools for Community Forest Management: The Experience of Forest Concessions in Guatemala.
According to Fernando Carrera, CATIE researcher and course coordinator, one of the most successful community forestry processes in the world is the one taking place in forest concessions in the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) in Petén, Guatemala.
Carrera indicated that, with the knowledge acquired and lessons learned in diversified forest management, shown through the experience of community forestry in Petén, it is expected that participants will be able to implement and replicate good practices in their countries.
"The communities in Petén have successfully managed the concessioned forests for the production of timber and non-timber products for more than two decades and all have been certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), turning them into a true Latin American school of community forestry," Carrera said.
"The course exceeded my expectations, the experience that we took to our country and our communities is of great benefit because I believe that we learned things that we are going to put into practice and reorient the work we have already been doing and give a different destination to the rational use of forests," said Dagoberto Lobo of Honduras, president of the Federation of Pech Indigenous Tribes of Honduras (FETRIT).
For her part, Ivonne Caicedo, coordinator of the sustainable forest management project with the Colombian Fund for Environmental Action and Children and participant in the course, highlighted how important it was to have learned about Guatemala's experience with concessions and forest protection, techniques and tools that will be very useful to put into practice in her country.
Participants from Honduras, Colombia, Costa Rica, Peru, and Guatemala are part of institutions dedicated to environmental conservation, including the Forest Conservation Institute (ICF, its Spanish acronym) in Honduras, the National System of Conservation Areas (SINAC, its Spanish acronym) in Costa Rica, and the National Forest and Wildlife Service (SERFOR, its Spanish acronym) in Peru.
The dynamics of the course consisted of theoretical sessions with presentations by specialists with ample practical experience, complemented with six field tours carried out at the Finca del Centro Universitario de Petén (CUDEP), in the Uaxactún Concession, in Tikal National Park, visit to the community forest services company (FORESCOM), also visited the border concessions in Melchor de Mencos and Yaxha National Park, as it is a model of conservation and development in the framework of community tourism.
CATIE Researcher and Course Coordinator
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