Conservation Agreements

Since 2009, WCS has been working in alliance with National Protected Areas Council (CONAP), to implement Conservation Agreement model in MBR. The model was created by Conservation International (CI) and adapted by WCS to work in Guatemala.
WCS in alliance with CONAP, organized community groups and civil society organizations, had been working gradually in Agreements suited for each site due are adapted to needs, context and actors of each community. The first Conservation agreement was signed in 2009 in Uaxactun community, and has been active since then. The second was signed in Paso Caballos in 2010 and remain active. To both agreements WCS is the accompanied organization.
The third Conservation Agreement was signed in 2012 with Carmelita community and was active for one stage of two years (2012-2014), the accompanied organization in this case was Asociacion Balam, with funds of Foundation Prince Albert II Monaco and Fundación Pacunam.
The fourth Conservation Agreement was signed in 2012 with Corozal-BioItzá-Zotz, with Fundación ProPetén as leader and accompanied organization. This agreement was the first involved two community groups (BioItzá and Corozal), an academy institution, and civil society organization to work in a shared landscape, with impact in 30,010 hectares. This agreement has been supported by Darwin Initiative and was renewed for a second stage with funds of Conservation International. (stage 2)
With support of Overbook, the newest Agreement was signed in March 2017, in San Miguel Community (Multiple Use Zone of the MBR). In the Agreement the actors involved are San Miguel community, WCS, and honor witnesses.

Uaxactún
was declared a village 67 years ago, but had long inhabited, located approximately 96 km from Flores, adjacent to the north border of Tikal National Park and has 83,558 ha forest concession of timber and non-timber products.This community of 770 people has been devoted to the extraction of non-timber products as xate (Chamaedorea spp.), Chicle (Manilkarazapota) and pepper (Pimienta dioica).
This community was the first to sign a Conservation Agreement, that provides incentive payments and technical assistance in exchange for conservation actions developed by the community. Under the agreement, the community receives benefits (e.g support to education and incentive payment forxate) in exchange for developing specific conservation activities and thead option of a sustainable xate harvesting (palm leaf are used to decorate flower arrangements), enrichment of natural populations of xate, implementation of control and monitoring plans, fire prevention, among others.
Some major achievements include re-zoning of agricultural land within the concession, improved management and protection of 81,000 ha, incorporating xate 100,000 new plants in the forest (survival rategreater than 90%) and direct benefit to 250 people by the new xate harvesting incentives. The agreement has also helped streng then the administrative and financial capacities of local authorities (COCODE) and the entity responsible for managing the forest concession (OMYC) through the contract of a financial manager.At date four stages of the Conservation Agreement had been signed, two of them with the financial support of Conservation International (stage 1 and 4), Foundation Prince Albert II Monaco and Fundación Pacunam( stage 2) and Darwin Initiative (stage 3).

Conservation Challenges
One of the great challenges facing this community is to achieve financial and technical sustain ability to conduct conservation and forest management of the concession granted. Also important is the maintenance and strengthening of control and surveillance system to address the threats of deforestation and fires.

Paso Caballos
Paso Caballos is Q'eqchí community located in a key access point to Laguna del Tigre National Park and surrounding forest concessions. Currently Paso Caballos has a population of 1,500 in habitants, and in 1997 signed an Agreement of Intent with Guatemalan governmentthrough the CONAP, which recognizes the presence and permanence of the community in this area, delimiting a territorial polygon called Community Management Unit of 6,382.12 ha, distributed into the 112 families living in that area at the time of the agreement.
In 2010, WCS signed the second Conservation Agreement with this community, and the community under the agreement promised to be strictly controlled during the period of agricultural fires to prevent the spread of fire to other areas, migration regulation and prohibition the settlement of new people in the community, control and prohibition of cattle,control and surveillance of surrounding forests. In return, the community receives technical assistance for strengthening and local authorities, improving school and health infrastructure.
Among the most important achievements since the signing of the agreement include a considerable improvement in the relationship between the community and government authorities (CONAP), periods of agricultural burning in strict internal control and without incident in the area, the community has been maintained without cattle, efficient control of threats related to the usurpation of protected areas and illegal land business selling in the community.
At date three stages of Conservation Agreement has been signed, two of them financed by Conservation International (stage 1 and 3) and one by Darwin Initiative support (stage 2).

Conservation Challenges
Among the most important and permanent challenges of this community emphasizes the strengthening of community organization for the control and protection of agricultural burning during the dry season, and the control of immigration of people to the community. In addition to being a community that has experienced rapid growth, strengthening education and health services for children and youth is an immediate priority, as the economic diversification in community practices environmentally friendly production.

Case Study No. 1: BioItzá-Corozal-Zotz (PDF 700 kb, English)
Case Study No. 2: Carmelita (PDF 755 kb, English)
Case Study No. 3: Paso Caballos (PDF 987 kb, English)
Case Study No. 4: Uaxactún (PDF 912 kb, English)

Evaluating Conservation Agreements as a Tool for Conserving Nature and Improving Wellbeing of Rural Households in the Maya Biosphere Reserve, Guatemala (PDF 10.4 mb, English

Bulletins (PDF Spanish)
2014 Boletin 2 Paso Caballos mar2014, Boletin 2 Carmelita marzo 2014, Boletin Uaxactun marzo 2014
2015 Boletin AC_Carmelita 2015, Boletin AC_Paso Caballos 2015, Boletin AC_Uaxactun 2015, Boletin general AC 2015, Boletin Acuerdos de Conservacion.

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