chapter  8
28 Pages

Trickster ecology

Climate change and conservation pluralism in Guatemala’s Maya Lowlands
WithLiza Grandia

Drawing lessons from anthropological work on reforestation incentives and feminist critiques of population control programs, this chapter outlines a more inclusive conservation governance model for Guatemala that at once helps to preserve indigenous Q’eqchi’ Maya sacred places, strengthens village forests, and supports communities in their efforts to halt land grabbing. Despite multimillion dollar investments by international donors and Guatemalan government agencies in biodiversity conservation, environmental education, and protected area management, annual deforestation rates have continued unabated since the 1980s. While initially conservation efforts emphasized park and forest management, ongoing land grabs and deforestation point to the need for complementary and alternative conservation models. In contrast to the model of state-led parks, this chapter explores the resilience of a mosaic approach combining community-managed forests, village sacred sites, agroforestry systems, and other vernacular co-management models. This chapter explores how better integration of Maya spiritual perspectives on climate change and environmental deterioration might improve conservation education narratives and strategies in Guatemala.