Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico
The Development Imperative
World War II coincided with a political shift away from the socially progressive policies of the Cárdenas era. The war justified loosening existing conservationist regulations, and subsequent policies favored industrialization and private enterprise over the community-based forestry. Village forestry (including producers cooperatives) were undermined by new policies such as forest concessions granted to timber companies, logging bans (vedas), and joint venture agreements (contratos de asociación en participación) between villagers and timber interests. In Chihuahua, Mexican corporations such as Bosques de Chihuahua received concessions that displaced the incipient projects of village-managed forestry in Rarámuri communities. In Michoacán, a state-wide logging ban and the eruption of the Paricutín volcano in 1943—along with extension efforts by the Ejidal Bank (Banco Ejidal)—favored a transition to pine-resin tapping in Parangaricutiro and the entire Meseta Tarasca, and it eventually became a mainstay of village production in much of the state.