Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico
The Romance of State Forestry, 1972–1992
The Tlatelolco massacre of 1968 touched off a decade of unrest throughout Mexico, including the forestlands. Beginning with president Luis Echeverría (1970–1976), political leaders promoted community forestry, that is, local management of small-scale timber production. Para-governmental corporations (paraestatales) were created in Michoacán (PROFORMICH), Chihuahua (PROFORTARH), and elsewhere to purchase timber from rural communities and provide technical assistance, but these artifacts state forestry soon became mired in bureaucracy and corruption, not to mention problems deriving from official policies favoring deforestation. In Michoacán, where avocado plantations began to replace forests, rural people mobilized and undermined state forestry. In Chihuahua, neoliberalism did so, though not before the World Bank proposed one final mega-project in the Sierra Tarahumara. By the 1990s, community forestry projects appeared throughout the nation, and particularly in indigenous regions.