The Evolution of Forest Producer Associations and Their Current Role in REDD+: Case Studies from Quintana Roo, Mexico
Hajjar, Reem, and Robert A. Kozak. “The Evolution of Forest Producer Associations and Their Current Role in REDD+: Case Studies from Quintana Roo, Mexico.” Land Use Policy 60 (2017): 373-83. Science Direct. Web.
Forest associations (secondary-level institutions that support and represent groups of forest producer communities) play an important and understudied role in promoting community forestry in a multi-level forest governance context in many countries. This role continually evolves to meet new demands from their constituents, with associations diversifying into activities that bring new governance issues, interests, organizational logics and capacity needs. As community forestry in many countries is being integrated into REDD+ national strategies, questions arise regarding new roles for these associations. Through a case study of two forest associations in Quintana Roo, Mexico, this study traces the history and evolution of these associations as they react and adapt to a changing forest sector, uses forest stakeholders’ opinions to assess the associations’ current status and perceived importance of their involvement in the forest sector, and examines how current opinions and historical legacy have shaped their role in REDD+ in Mexico. Results show that association members and outsiders (mostly government stakeholders) hold divergent views of the utility of these organizations. Outsiders’ negative perceptions, as well as the niche that the associations are currently in, is largely determining their limited participation in REDD+ consultation and implementation to date. This is a missed opportunity to engage important allies who still hold high legitimacy in the eyes of the communities that will be the ultimate implementers of REDD+.