Renewal of Forestry Concession in Petén, Guatemala

ICCO celebrates the renewal of a forestry concession for the next 25 years of a community in the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Petén, Guatemala.

Renewal of Forestry Concession in Petén, Guatemala

The National Council of Protected Areas of Guatemala unanimously approved the extension of the concession contract of the Carmelite Management Unit for 25 years in Petén. The concession applies to a forest area that has been ceded by the State to the community. Since then, the community has legal access to the forest for the usufruct of natural resources. The concession contract requires compliance with certain standards. The community applies a sustainable and integrated forestry model, with the support of Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP), a valuable partner of ICCO.
The main impact of this renewal of the Carmelita forestry concession is that it sets a precedent for the renewal of the eight remaining concessions.

Communities in Maya Biosphere Reserve, Peten, Guatemala

Sustainable Community Forestry Model

Over the last 25 years, ACOFOP has shown that the sustainable integrated management of forests – through the forestry model – is one of the main mechanisms of the mitigation of climate change, conservation of biodiversity, associated ecosystems and at the same time generates livelihood opportunities for communities. The model is characterized by conservation of forests, biodiversity and archaeological sites. At the same time the model provides communities the necessary tools to generate new sources of income and improve their quality of life. It does so by creating companies in the certified timber market and the commercialization of non-timber forest products such as xate palm, honey, chewing gum and ramon seed. As part of the forest model, communities also enter the tourism sector through the provision of services in the different heritage sites.
The integral management of the Petén forest ecosystems is an example in Latin America, it constitutes a successful model of conservation and sustainable use of the forest, for the economic and social development of the communities. The community forestry model is recognized as an alternative for the tropics at the Global level.

Communities in Peten livelihood opportunities

Transfer territories back to communities

Guatemala is a country that experienced an armed conflict where many people lost their lives fighting for their rights. Different actors such as the State, international cooperation and communities have struggled to conserve forests, defend their rights and their territories. With the end of that conflict and with the signing of the Peace Accords (1996), it established among one of its points to transfer portions of territory to communities existing in the area for resource management, thus ACOFOP was born. For more than 20 years ICCO has accompanied the work of the Association of Forest Communities of Petén (ACOFOP).

We applaud this great news together with ACOFOP and the community that for decades has worked in the defense of the Maya Biosphere Reserve. As ICCO Cooperation we are committed to continue strengthening the forestry model.

Learn more about the Carmelite Management Unit and how they apply sustainable and integrated forestry:


Rights of Indigenous Forest People of Mesoamerica

As of 1st January 2021 ICCO has joined forces with Cordaid and continues as one organization under the name Cordaid.

ICCO’s international website will remain online for the time being and can be visited here or go to Cordaid: