Mexican Political Development, Common Property Institutions, and Opportunities for Collaborative Environmental Management

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Virginia Tech


The political, economic, and social institutions within a society directly influence the structure, direction, and vitality of collaborative or co-management systems of environmental management and governance. Mexico has the opportunity to more fully embrace sound progressive environmental policies because of the dramatic political and economic developments of the last twenty years; particularly the signing of the NAFTA accords in 1992 and the elections of 2000. The ejido, or common property system of land reform, borne of the Mexican revolution and codified under the Lazaro Cardenas administration, could provide a basis on which to build more accountable, collaborative environmental management regimes in the 21st century.

This research seeks to understand the relationship between recent political and economic restructuring in Mexico and the development of more collaborative environmental management regimes based upon the traditional ejido system of common property management. The author will examine recent research on collaborative or co-management with a focus on community/greater-state relations. Then a survey of Mexican history with a focus on recent trends â the last twenty years â in decentralization and institutional development will be presented to provide the reader with a sense of the scope of change in the country's political culture. Finally three case studies will be examined that represent distinct ejido community environments in which the move towards collaborative management of forested regions in Mexico is taking place.



Decentralization, Democratization, Institutional development, Environmental management, Ejido