Mexico Forest Regeneration & Strengthening Indigenous Self-Governance

Forest restoration and strengthening indigenous self-governance of natural resources in the mountains of Guerrero in Mexico



According to the National Institute of Statistics, Geography and Informatics (INEGI), 14% of the population in the state of Guerrero is indigenous, while in the region of La Montaña, as much as 70% of the population is considered indigenous, belonging to the Nahua, Ñu Savi and Me'phaa peoples. Malinal-tepec has the highest rate of marginalisation in the state of Guerrero and at the same time is experiencing increasing degradation of its natural resources due to overexploitation.


The region is prone to earthquakes and the settlements are located on the mountain slopes, making them vulnerable to landslides due to the nature of the soil. Over the centuries, local communities had developed ways of life closely linked to the sustainable use of forest products such as food, medicine, firewood, timber, natural fibres and medicines. Currently, however, excessive logging combined with the slow regeneration of some tree species, the reduction of their distribution and the constant disturbance of the forest ecosystem has resulted in the thinning of forests and the destruction of ecological integrity. The clearing of land for livestock also contributes to this.


This degradation of natural livelihoods and the fragmentation of the social fabric of the indigenous population is leading to increased migration to the cities in search of economic development opportunities.  This leads to a weakening of the management of natural resources and a fragmentation of the social fabric as well as migration and, as a consequence, to a threat to the preservation and transmission of indigenous cultural assets to the next generation.


Project Goals

The aim of the project is to contribute to increasing the social and ecological resilience of indigenous communities in the Sierra de Guerrero in Mexico to the impacts of global climate change. In particular, it aims to mobilise and sustain internal and external resources to implement a self-determined and ecologically resilient development model in at least 5 indigenous communities of the Agrarian Centre of Malinaltepec (Moyotepec, Ojo de Agua, La Soledad, La Ciénega and El Obispo).


Project Measures

1. Participatory diagnosis and mapping of forest resources (baseline study).

Together with the Commissariat for Community Assets, a mapping of the community-owned resources available in the region will be carried out in order to identify the livelihoods of the population, traditional and better practices of the use of local resources. The results of the mapping will be disseminated primarily in the communities, through materials translated into local languages. The results will be recorded in maps, which will be jointly drafted in 8 workshops and handed over to the local commissioner's office.


2. Formulation of forest management recommendations and afforestation

The necessary diagnostics are carried out to understand the ecological and use-relevant properties of the forest, the causes for the deterioration of the condition and the necessary measures for its restoration. This includes the analysis of the current production systems on site. Experiments will then be conducted on the restoration of red-eye and other native species. In order to initiate reforestation at the community level, tree nurseries will be established at four selected sites. However, as the seedlings first need time to grow - which significantly increases their survival rate when planted out - about 2,000 seedlings of indigenous tree species will be purchased from nurseries and planted to demonstrate community afforestation. Community afforestation strengthens social cohesion and identification with the measures.


3. Design, implementation and evaluation of a modular programme to strengthen community forest management with students.

A modular programme to strengthen community forest management is being designed, implemented and evaluated for the 13 members of the Malinaltepec Community Property Commission. During this process, 39 students from the Intercultural University of Guerrero (UIEG) will be involved to strengthen their teaching and curriculum design skills, and to systematise and replicate the training experience in the community contexts they come from. During the process, 2 community facilitators belonging to the commissariat will be trained in community asset valuation and ecosystem restoration to build capacity in community asset valuation and management on the ground and in the commissariat as a body of indigenous self-governance. Throughout the project, areas suitable for the implementation of community forest restoration plans will be identified.


4. Participatory use diagnosis of firewood

With a group of selected localities, identified after the baseline diagnosis and based on the identified need and will to participate (feasibility), a community mapping of common assets and a diagnosis of forest degradation factors and habits related to cooking and firewood use will be carried out. The participatory work with the communities on the issue of firewood use allows for the mapping of the communities' material and immaterial resources, knowledge of their use and planning based on their own needs. The results of this work will be recorded through a diagnostic mapping of environmental degradation and habits related to the use of cooking and firewood. The results will be documented and recorded in visual materials for wider dissemination.


5. Sensitisation of communities for sustainable forest management

A participatory training process is carried out to sensitise the population on the sustainable management of timber resources, including the regenerative use of endangered species. To this end, workshops are held with community members and visual materials are produced. In addition, afforestation exercises with local species will be carried out, starting with seed selection, germination and planting.


6. Participatory development and testing of wood-saving cooking stoves

As part of the sustainable wood management activities, work is being done with a group of 50 women who are interested in developing a wood-saving stove adapted to the region to replace the central stove in their homes. 50 stoves will be built and installed collectively. This will bring several benefits: deforestation will be reduced, greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced, smoke will be discharged from the house, keeping it in better condition and preventing respiratory diseases.


7. Dissemination and networking with the aim of expanding to higher levels of integration (national, regional, international)

The exchange of knowledge through the experience gained at seminars and conferences at different levels (national and regional) will enable the local promoter's team to explore new opportunities related to networking and internationalisation. It will also motivate the communities to show that the work done has relevance and impact beyond the local level by sharing experiences and bringing in new ideas and insights that emerge through dissemination and exchange.

 Aerial view of forest in the mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Men during diagnostics | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indigenous women at work | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indigenous women at work | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indigenous women at work | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indigenous woman working and building a new cooking place | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indian woman showing finished new stove | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Piece of forest in the mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Indigenous people learn food literacy | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Students at the lecture | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Students sighting the forest condition | Mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund
 Students on a tour of forest areas in the mountains of Guerrero in Mexico | GlobalNatureFund


 Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung (BMZ)




Contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals

The project should make a concrete contribution to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs):

 Ziel 1: Armut in jeder Form und überall beenden
 Ziel 8: Dauerhaftes, inklusives und nachhaltiges Wirtschaftswachstum, produktive Vollbeschäftigung und menschenwürdige Arbeit für alle fördern
 Ziel 17: Umsetzungsmittel stärken und die globale Partnerschaft für nachhaltige Entwicklung wiederbeleben


Project Partner

Cooperación Comunitaria (CC) is a non-governmental organisation founded in 2012 that aims to improve the living conditions of rural communities in Mexico and reduce their vulnerability by promoting sustainable self-management in the socio-cultural, productive, constructive and ecological fields. The core element to trigger an integral process is participation - the ability of communities to become agents of change themselves.

Project Partner

 Logo Cooperación Comunitaria


Contact Persons

Katharina Gehrig

Global Nature Fund (GNF) - Office Radolfzell

Phone: +49 7732 9995 86




Project Period:


Project Country: 


Project Partner:






15 November 2021 - 30 April 2024




Cooperación Comunitaria


German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)