The world’s most effective forest guardians recently traveled from Petén, Guatemala, to Washington D.C. to share their astonishing conservation achievements with congressional staffers.
The nine community forest concessions that sit within Guatemala’s majestic, 5-million-acre (2.1-million-hectare) Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) have maintained a near-zero deforestation rate for 14 years—20 times less than other parts of the reserve—while creating thousands of jobs that benefit more than 14,000 people. And they have achieved all this in the face of dire threats: narco-traffickers who want to clear land to create money-laundering ranches or landing strips for their airplanes have murdered community leaders. And now corporate and foreign interests pose increasing threats to the communities, who were granted rights to their areas as part of Guatemala’s 1996 Peace Accords.
In this video, the Rainforest Alliance’s José Román Carrera, a native of Petén, Guatemala, and a former director of Guatemala’s conservation agency, talks about why he and Marcedonio Cortave, the director of the communities’ umbrella organization, ACOFOP, traveled to D.C.—and why it is of urgent importance to support the community concessions in their incredibly successful conservation work.