A new conservation and development frontier: Community protected areas in Oaxaca, Mexico
Most protected areas in the world are inhabited by people. Mexico is at the forefront of countries where local communities have direct ownership rights of their forests, with an estimated 56-80% of national forests directly owned by communities, within which extraction activities are regulated by Mexican environmental law. However, not all Mexican forest communities have commercially valuable forests and others have forest areas that are mostly inaccessible. Further, the dominance of community ownership of rural lands means that there are few opportunities for expansion of Mexico's public protected areas that do not conflict with pre-existing community ownership.