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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 136-150

Legitimacy of forest rights: The underpinnings of the forest tenure reform in the protected areas of petén, Guatemala


1 Rights and Resources Initiative, Washington, DC, USA; Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences FLACSO-Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala
2 Rights and Resources Initiative, Washington, DC, USA

Correspondence Address:
Iliana Monterroso
Rights and Resources Initiative, Washington, DC, USA; Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences FLACSO-Guatemala, Guatemala City, Guatemala

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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.97486

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In recent decades, forests across the world have undergone a significant process of recognition and transference of tenure rights to local communities or individuals, referred to here as forest tenure reforms. Among developing regions, Latin America has seen the most important recognition and transference of these tenure rights to forest dwelling and forest dependent communities. This paper examines the process in Guatemala, where the state has recognised and transferred rights to organised local groups-establishing a community concession system in the multiple use zone of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. We analyse the evolution of claims over forest uses, and focus on the legitimacy elements underpinning the process of a claim becoming a right. The results indicate that in order to sustain this forest tenure reform process over time, it is important to understand how tenure arrangements are transferred and distributed among rights-receivers, and how this process is influenced by the elements that underpin legitimation as well as those that define authority. Understanding the underpinnings of the legitimacy behind forest tenure reforms is central to identifying ways in which these processes can work, and also becomes important for developing more sound policy frameworks that fill gaps and resolve incongruence in governmental systems for forest management.


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