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president of the comisariado de bienes comunales


La Cumbre, Ixtepeji, Oaxaca




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Section 1  His work as president of the office responsible for community property: “my functions are mostly to watch the forest area and the documentation of the transportation of timber; and to see that all workers act responsibly to avoid any accident in the different areas.” The comisariado de bienes comunales focuses on “forest exploitation, reforestation, control of materials – that is the wood, brazuelo (thin tree trunks, used to make charcoal), charcoal - and the careful management of them.”
Section 1-2  Traditional trade - the production of charcoal from oak: “not everyone knew how to do that work there were older people, who knew the job perfectly”. Former difficulties in transporting goods to Oaxaca: “they transported it on animals… because we didn’t have vehicles.” Building of Tuxtupec paper mills in 1957 (the paper mill that had the logging concession in the forests surrounding communities in the Sierra Norte for approximately 25 years) brought new jobs for comuneros (registered community members). Established a communal enterprise in 1984 “when the community [took] all the forest development into its own hands.”
Section 2-3  Positive changes in employment and commerce: “now the city is much more open and all the communities too, since they now have different jobs.” Diversification of small-scale industry and commercialisation of local resources. How the different “groups” involved in these income-generating projects are organising themselves; some groups have “plans for the expansion of their products. How the exploitation of resources is regulated: “each person has an application form and they answer the questions to get the right to use the resource.”
Section 3-4  Christmas and Easter are the peak seasons for sales of various forest plants including medicinal herbs. Forest conservation: “mostly we have the idea of protecting the area … because of the water below the surface… and to avoid participating in exploitation of the forest, and in order to take care of the forest and the ecology of the place.” Potential of ecotourism. His views on the value of community-based administration.