Keywords: biodiversity, conservation planning, institutions, Mexico, multifunctional landscapes, Oaxaca, resource practices, sustainable development, sustainability, forest resources, local communities, ecological integrity
Local approaches to biodiversity conservation: lessons from Oaxaca, southern Mexico
Large areas of Oaxaca, southern Mexico, exhibit high biodiversity in the absence of official protected areas. This paper discusses some of the key mechanisms and practices employed by local communities to help conserve their forest resources. The findings suggest that learning from local resource management systems should become an important component of future conservation planning in Mexico. This will require conservationists and the wider public to consider local communities to be a necessary part of territorial and ecological processes and, in some instances, to give them a greater role in biodiversity conservation and stewardship of the country's forest commons. However, such a shift in thinking is unlikely to occur until more research is carried out to determine the specific impacts of these land-use systems on biodiversity and ecological integrity.