Oaxaca is the most biologically-and culturally-diverse state of Mexico, and considered by many to be a source of best practices for the role of Indigenous peoples in forest governance. Utilizing an original data set containing census and remote sensing information, I construct a set of empirical tests to assess the impact of indigenous peoples and decentralized local institutions on forest loss in Mexico. Recognizing the great biological and cultural diversity of Mexico, I employ an ecoregion sampling technique to understand trends in different vegetation regimes and to understand better how local institutions influenced forest loss between 2000-2015 by looking within shared watersheds crossing the Oaxacan border. The results indicate that, contrary to strategies based on targeting simply the presence of Indigenous peoples, Indigenous households weakly correlate with forest loss, while Oaxacan autonomous Indigenous municipalities, which retain meaningful influence on local institutions, consistently have lower forest loss across national, regional, and ecoregional samples.
Keywords: forests, climate change, REDD+, Oaxaca, Mexico, local institutions, Indigenous communities
How to Cite:
Haines K., (2021) “Oaxaca and global forest governance: Indigenous autonomy, local institutions, and forest outcomes in Southern Mexico”, Journal of Political Ecology 28(1). p.25-46. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/jpe.2296
- UCSD Center for Ibero and Latin American Studies; UCSD Center for US-Mexican Studies