State of the Maya Biosphere Reserve

Recovering territory in the MBR

Destroyed fences in La Colorada, San Andrés, Petén


Recent actions in the destruction of fences in La Colorada, Multiple Use Zone, MBR

Unprecedented actions to enforce the law and recover territory have occurred recently in the MBR, led by CONAP and accompanied by their partners in government and civil society, in a dramatic increase in the effectiveness of territorial control in strategic zones of the reserve.
The discovery of a single area in which 900 hectares of forest were completely destroyed during the dry season of 2009 (a fact widely covered in the press ) triggered a series of actions that have substantially improved governance.  An action plan to recover the area in question was (and continues to be) systematically implemented, and after extraordinary financial resources were made available, the Government of Guatemala displayed impressive political will, undertaking actions to retake control of the Road to Carmelita, a critical area of the MBR.

Fire in La Colorada, May, 2009

To date, notable successes include:

- Installation of five new permanent control posts that restrict entry into zones of the MBR (including entry of cattle)

- Systematic inter-institutional patrols with the participation of CONAP park guards, members of the Guatemalan Army, and the National Civil Police

- Recovery of more than 95,000 hectares of illegally colonized (land)

- Cancellation of the community forestry concession contract in La Colorada, and eviction of its members

- Removal of 1264 head of cattle from illegal ranches inside the MBR

Actions and successes like those recently achieved have little to no precedent in the MBR.  After several years of growing deforestation and impunity for environmental crimes, the law is now being enforced more frequently.  In addition, the most significant actions are directed towards individuals with a lot of resources who have seized large tracts of land, and not towards subsistence agriculturalists.  This progress demonstrates that completely reestablishing governance is possible, and that the efforts and resources invested in the MBR must continue to grow.