The forests of Mexico and Central America are among the most biologically diverse in the world, with almost 85 million hectares of natural pine and oak forests and tropical broadleaf forests along both the Pacific and Atlantic coasts. These forests provide an importance source of employment and income for forest residents, while also helping to capture carbon dioxide.
Though the region has suffered high deforestation rates in the past, deforestation has declined over the last two decades. In most countries in the region, government policies are less and less supportive of expanding agriculture into forested areas.
As the international community seeks to mobilize billions of dollars to financially reward countries for reducing emissions and keeping forests intact through REDD+ (reduced emissions from deforestation and forest degradation, and the conservation, sustainable management and enhancement of forest carbon stocks), Mexico and Central America provide evidence that the approach may work: They have successfully used payments for environmental services and support for indigenous and community forest management to encourage more sustainable land management.
The Alliance’s Mexico & Central America Initiative includes seven component strategies: