Top-down natural resource management approaches have been criticized as failing to sustainably protect forest resources. Decentralization of this management has become increasingly popular but there is a lack of consensus on whether or not decentralization has produced more effective natural resource management. Guatemala adopted a partially decentralized approach to forest management in 1996. This research examines the effects of decentralization on Guatemalan forest resources using a unique integration of social, physiographic, and land-cover change data. Results indicate that deforestation and reforestation rates both increased post-decentralization in areas with higher population and road densities, with a net forest cover increase post-decentralization. The primary shift was from passive forest conservation and monitoring pre-decentralization to an active forest harvest and reforestation effort. The number of employees dedicated to forestry activities is the most significant social variable in reforestation efforts post-decentralization.
- land-cover change
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development
- Earth-Surface Processes
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law