The “Building local capacity to manage community conserved areas in Oaxaca, Mexico” project, implemented between 2007 and 2009, sought to enhance Oaxacan community conserved areas (VCAs) and local livelihoods by strengthening the capacity of Chinantec indigenous peoples and collaborating researchers to document and manage biological resources while promoting traditional ecological knowledge and practice. It also supported Chinantec communities in their understanding of the impacts of the laws and policies related to community conservation initiatives.

Building local capacity

*Photo by Thor Morales

Specific activities carried out included training community members to work as community researchers; implementing community workshops on sustainable forest management, participatory video, scientific tourism and legal frameworks for community conservation; providing technical expertise and equipment for a community natural history museum and biological station in Santa Cruz Tepetotutla; establishing participatory community biodiversity registers that document biological resources of potential economic value; providing advanced seminars in sustainable forest management, biodiversity law and community conservation for university-trained colleagues from diverse institutions in Oaxaca that support CCAs; and disseminating project results through exchanges with other communities, and participation in national and international meetings.


Project Donor 

Darwin Initiative, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom (DEFRA)