The national protected area comprehends 5,580 hectares surrounding the city of Xalapa. Over 600 thousand people live in the region and are somehow affected by the contributions of the corresponding social-ecological systems. The Forest Stewards Network (FSN) assembly constitutes the monthly space where different actors converge to share their views, discuss different matters concerning the territory and deliberate on actions to be taken. At the start, members from the state government took part in the assembly. Nowadays, 20-40 people take part in the assemblies. Active members are mainly from civil society organisations, academia and rural communities.
The assessment in this case does not correspond to a set of pre-designed stages, methods and instruments, but to a series of structured, semi-structured and informal exchanges, that have occurred throughout the Network´s activities. The FSN participated as closely as they were allowed in the design of the protected area management plan. This occurred through participatory workshops and a thorough review of the document. The government in their final document included many suggestions made by the FSN.
By creating spaces in which diverse actors converge to share their views and forms of life (e.g. through visits to local sustainable practices, meetings and activities held in various rural communities), the FSN has created opportunities for dialogue between a plurality of actors as well as for collective analyses, generation of proposals, and actions that involve different stakeholders. The Network has had some impact on policy and other political processes (at state and local levels, participation in the protected area management plan), cultural events (Biocultural Festivals, school talks and activities, exchanges between local sustainable initiatives) and economic changes (the creation of a network that directly links local producers and consumers).
To know more:
Hensler, L.; Merçon, J.; Estrada, I.; González-González, R.; Paradowska, K.; Bravo, L.; Cesareo, V. (2019). Metodologías participativas para la cogestión del territorio. Una experiencia de aprendizaje colectivo en Veracruz, México. En: Romina Rébola, Pablo Paño y Mariano Suárez (coord.). Metodologías y Procesos Participativos. Reflexiones y experiencias para la transformación social. Consejo Latinoamericano de Ciencias Sociales (CLACSO), Bueno Aires, pp. 235-260.
Ayala-Orozco, B., Rosell, J., Merçon, J., Bueno, I., Alatorre-Frenk, G., Langle-Flores, A., & Lobato, A. (2018). Challenges and Strategies in Place-Based Multi-Stakeholder Collaboration for Sustainability: Learning from Experiences in the Global South. Sustainability, 10(9): 3217.