In the 1990s, Mexico experienced one of the highest rates of deforestation across Latin American countries. While deforestation has slowed, it continues to be a problem along with comparatively higher rates of forest degradation.
The Forest Investment Program (FIP) finances programmatic efforts to address underlying causes of deforestation and forest degradation and to overcome barriers that have hindered past efforts, through three projects with a total investment of $66 million.
Fabian Huizar Amezcua is the unit director of “Productos Forestales ‘La Ciudad’” or La Ciudad Forest Products. He works with the unit of service delivery for the ejidos of el Salto P.N. in Durango, Mexico.
His responsibilities include directing forest management activities such as logging, planting, and equipment operation. Fabian is part of the Pino Real A.R.I.C. community, which covers three ‘ejidos’ or communities centered around forestry activities in Durango.
In La Ciudad, FIP investment supports improved monitoring capacity and awareness of rules and value in conservation, which in turn has supported long-term protection of biodiversity through conserved forest land. When asked about changes supported by outside financial investment, Fabian commented that they now receive much higher prices for their forest products.
Due to an upgrade in the sawmill equipment (funded by FIP), they were able to receive additional money for their products, which led to an increase in volume produced, which led to increased hiring of people from all across the mountains. Fabian also mentioned that these investments led to additional capacity for ecotourism – the compound ‘El Mexiquillo’ consists of 10 cabins on the edge of conservation land, which brings tourists to the forests of Durango and infuses additional capital into the ejido.
Fabian commented that in the last 5-10 years, he has noticed a big economic change, leading to more security and wellbeing for his family, adding that before these investments, there were ‘coyotes’ who would buy wood for a cheap price and then sell it for a more expensive price, collecting profits for themselves. Since the infusion of investments, there has been an improvement in the entire production line from harvesting to final products, eliminating these kinds of practices and bringing more returns directly to the community.