Forests May Depend on Survival of Native People
IPS, 29 March 2010

MONTPELLIER, FRANCE: Hundreds of poor Mexican Zapotec indigenous farmers have become owners of a multi-million-dollar diversified forest industry, offering an important model of a community-based enterprise that supports local people and conserves the natural environment, says David Barton Bray, a professor and associate chair in the Department of Earth and Environment at Florida International University in Miami. The farmers of Ixtlán de Juarez, a forest community in the Sierra Norte mountains of central Mexico, utilize their strong traditional community values and communal ownership of more than 21,000 hectares of pine and oak forest to run a successful business that benefits the entire community. Communal trust, deeply shared values that arise from long experience and knowledge are some of the ingredients of social capital. Read the article …