"I received 82 death threats in the 1990s when I was helping to establish Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve. And those were just the written ones. I also got many, many calls. I was shot at in my car – 17 bullets. Another time they put a bomb at my house. But I’m still here. They tried to kill me and they didn’t. Eventually they realized I would never leave. I had to protect the Maya Biosphere Reserve. If we want people and the planet to prosper together, we can’t get depressed. We don’t have time."
—José Román Carrera, the Rainforest Alliance director of partnership and development in Latin America
"If we want people and the planet to prosper together, we can’t get depressed. We don’t have time."José Román Carrera
José Román Carrera has been instrumental to the development of community forestry as a conservation strategy in the Maya Biosphere Reserve. In a region that suffers some of the highest deforestation rates in the Americas, the Maya Biosphere Reserve boasts impressive results. The Rainforest Alliance’s trainings in sustainable community forestry; business planning; enterprise administration; productive efficiency; diversification, and value-added processing have proven to be the strongest defense against local threats to the forest. In the Maya Biosphere Reserve’s buffer zone, the rate of deforestation is seven percent. In the core zone (where no deforestation is allowed) it’s two percent. In the concession areas where the Rainforest Alliance has been continuously working with forest communities for 10 years, the deforestation rate is ZERO.
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