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Manual for Protected Area Managers to Obtain Stewardship Over National Lands in Natural Protected Areas

During the agrarian distribution in Mexico, practically all of the nation’s territory was handed over to social groups and individuals with the aim of promoting the generation of wealth and the production of food. In this process, the largest landholdings, known as latifundia, disappeared and national lands seemed destined to be given up in their entirety to agricultural and livestock production.

The procedure, carried out in total disorder and without the technological tools that we have today, resulted in national parks and other previously established protected areas being included in the distribution of lands as well.

Almost a century into this process, we have found that fortunately, within the current Natural Protected Areas (NPAs), it is still possible to find national or presumed national lands that were not claimed by anyone at the time. This opens the opportunity for the federal government to designate them as its own, and entrust their stewardship to the National Commission for Natural Protected Areas (CONANP, for its acronym in Spanish).

The process for CONANP to obtain the authority to manage these properties is complex but navigable, which prompted us to create this manual. The experience of Carlos Castillo, who worked within CONANP for more than 20 years, is reflected in this document that seeks to make it easier for Directors of NPA’s to follow the process of identifying national lands and requesting them from the agrarian authority, so they can become part of the natural heritage of Mexico.

The objective of Wildlands Network in supporting this process is to ensure that all Mexicans can enjoy the ecological benefits of these lands in perpetuity, reducing the threat of invasions and interests not compatible with the mission of the natural protected areas