• Service: Advisory
  • Type: KPMG information
  • Date: 12/19/2013

123,000 hectares of misappropriated land recovered in Maya Biosphere  

In Guatemala’s Maya Biosphere Reserve, 123,000 hectares of illegally occupied state land was recovered and 10,000 head of cattle were removed from illegal ranches. The successful prosecution of strategically targeted criminal cases has provided a strong disincentive for future encroachment.
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Context and Theory of Change


Key elements of context


  • The Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR) is the most ecologically and archeologically important region of Guatemala and one of the most important conservation areas in the hemisphere.
  • It was created in 1990 to improve local livelihoods while conserving biological and cultural heritage.
  • The resource rights within the MBR were granted to local communities as part of the settlement of Guatemala’s 36 year civil war in 1996.
  • Despite these rights being enshrined in the peace protocols, illegal colonisation, agricultural conversion, drug trafficking and forest fires continued to severely degrade the reserve. This resulted in a loss of basic rights and economic opportunities for the local population.
  • Illegal cattle ranches were established with impunity by powerful groups.