In this article, I analyze how daily conservation discourse and practices create and recreate local identities through the reconfiguration of social relationships brought about by conservation encounters. The mobilization of identity has been a main strategy of the inhabitants of the Lacandon Community Zone and the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve for maintaining their access to natural resources and benefitting from conservation. In the Lacandon Rainforest, conservation comes at great cost to the local population but, at the same time, offers an opportunity to access monetary and political resources. Because of this tension, the peasants build complex and fractured identities, in an iterative process, assuming different images as they struggle to reconcile their personal desires with the external plan to preserve the forest. Identity in the Lacandon Rainforest, as in other regions impacted by this practice, is a tool in the political struggle.
Keywords: identity, power, biodiversity, conservation, protected areas, Mexico
How to Cite:
Durand, L., (2019) “Power, identity and biodiversity conservation in the Montes Azules Biosphere Reserve, Chiapas, Mexico”, Journal of Political Ecology 26(1), 19-37. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v26i1.23160