Masters Plan A Proposal Defense - Aldo Gonzalez - May 20

Date: May 20, 2016
Time: 10 a.m.
Location: Masters Plan A Proposal Defense - Aldo Gonzalez - May 20 Natural Resources RM 338

DOES COMMUNITY EMPOWERMENT LEAD TO SUSTAINABILITY OF THE COMMONS?

EVIDENCE FROM A CASE STUDY: CHERÁN, MICHOACÁN, MEXICO.

 Masters Plan A Proposal Defense

By

Aldo Gonzalez

Friday, May 20, 2016

10:00 a.m.

Room 338 A, Natural Resources Building

Abstract

Many vulnerable groups in the global South live in rural areas and depend on natural resources for their subsistence, therefore it is necessary to continue the quest for community development strategies that combat poverty and environmental degradation. In bottom-up approaches to development, stakeholders have control over their decisions and resources; empowerment is the process by which they gain such control. Empowerment is recognized as an instrument for community development, poverty alleviation, public health and local governance. However, the mechanisms by which empowerment leads to sustainability are not fully understood making the implementation of empowerment-oriented development strategies challenging. In 2011, the indigenous community of Cherán in the state of Michoacán, Mexico undertook a process of self-empowerment when it recovered control over their commonly-owned forests. In previous years, criminal organizations pillaged Cherán’s forest without local authorities responding to the problem. The mobilization of the community succeeded and they now govern the whole municipality under a traditional scheme recognized by the Federal Government of Mexico. This case represents a unique opportunity to assess the impact of community empowerment over the sustainability of a common pool forest. The objective of this case study is determining a) to what extent the process of empowerment in Cherán resulted in the creation of robust governance institutions and b) how the forested area has changed over time before and during the mobilization. Robustness of the institutions will be assessed using qualitative methods to determine the appearance of Ostrom’s (1990) principles of governance for CPRs. Change in forested land will be quantified using Geographical Information Systems (GIS).

Committee Members: