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5013 - COMMUNITY CONSERVATION IN A PROTECTED AREA OF THE YUCATAN PENINSULA, MEXICO: A CASE OF ECOTOURISM ADAPTIVE MANAGEMENT

The Otoch Ma’ax Yetel Kooh is a flora and fauna protected area (equivalent to IUCN’s Category VI) situated in the northeastern part of the Yucatan Peninsula. Punta Laguna is a small Yucatec Maya community located inside the protected area that has been developing community conservation through the development of ecotourism activities for more than 30 years. During this period, the community has used different management approaches: i) a family business that excluded the rest of the community; ii) a cooperative management; iii) an entrepreneurial management by an outsider tourism agency; and iv) a cooperative management with entrepreneurial know-how. By describing the characteristics of each management experience we reveal how the community has learned from experience, in which they have 1) modified exclusionary behaviors; 2) increased the importance of local decision-making; and 3) implemented entrepreneurial attitudes towards managing their community conservation initiative. Although the community has soundly conserved their forest while generating local benefits, this process has not occurred in a socially harmonious way, but has implied a constant confrontation among community members, and other stakeholders. In addition, the process has also been influenced by external perturbations such as hurricanes, global economic crises and drastic regional pressures because of tourism development in the region.

Palabras claves: Community conservation, Protected areas, Ecotourism, Adaptive management, Yucatan Peninsula.

Autores: Garcia-Frapolli, Eduardo (Centro de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas (CIECO)-Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico / Mexiko)

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