|Abstract or Summary
- During the Colonial Period, in Mexico there was no rational
forest development policy and, as a result, forest resources were
squandered and to a considerable extent destroyed. During the
Nineteenth Century, a rational forest policy began to be promoted, but
in the end, it was translated into a policy of preservation and protection
rather than optimum use and dynamic conservation.
The Post-Revolution Period was characterized by a carry-over
of the preservationist policy and the actual prohibition of forest
resource development on several million hectares of forest land.
Unfortunately, the prohibitions inhibited all forest activity and
commonly promoted unregulated and illegal uses and harvests, thereby
allowing the forest to deteriorate. In some areas, moreover, the
campesino came to view the forest as a hinderance to his well-being
and destroyed it for agricultural purposes.
By the 1940's it was realized by interested legislators and
foresters that a policy of rational development with a strong law was
necessary if Mexico was to retain her forests. Thus, in 1943,
Mexico's second forest law of the Twentieth Century was promulgated.
This law provided the organizational means to promote forest development
and conservation. The organization provided was the Industrial
Forest Exploitation Unit authorized to combine small forest ownerships
under long term concessions. With the establishment of these
Units came the requirement for professional foresters to plan and
manage commercial forest exploitation, mandatory reforestation and
other measures for conservation of the forest and forest soils.
The body of forest laws and regulations currently in force in
Mexico was enacted in 1960 and in reality is little more than a refining
of previous documents, especially that of 1943.
In summary, the analysis makes clear that there has evolved in
Mexico an exemplary body of policy, laws, and regulations, sufficient
to optimize forest utilization and to assure dynamic conservation of
the resource. More regulations are not needed, but there is critical
need for greater funding at the Federal level to implement existing
regulations and expand education of the public toward the end that the
citizenry appreciates and respects forest values.