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The Selva Maya
Conservation Timber

June 15-16, 2023

Playa del Carmen, Mexico

hosted by

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On June 15th & 16th, 2023, Cities4Forests hosted The Selva Maya Conservation Timber Summit in Playa del Carmen, which is situated in the Selva Maya (a.k.a. The Mayan Jungle).


The event was a co-created in partnership with Rainforest Alliance and Pilot Projects, and brought together a broad spectrum of stakeholders to co-create a more resilient value chain connecting the sustainable production of ejidos community-based conservation system with the demands of the rapidly developing regional real estate sector in the region. Ejido community leaders (and youth!), private sector companies, NGOS with particular sets of conservation skills and government officials from several different levels came together to launch this unified journey.


This forest landscape must work for the people who own and manage it, and it must be protected from deforestation for the sake of the local people, the biodiverse creatures who live here, and the planetary health we all depend on. We have reaffirmed these interdependent goals as our common commitment, and together we created a schematic design for how we can get there.


Developing a new mutually-beneficial conservation timber value chain requires private sector investment and significant private long-term systemic collaboration between all stakeholders. 

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The Context

The forests of the southeastern region of Mexico, Guatemala and Belize make up the Selva Maya, the largest tropical rainforest north of the Amazon. This tropical rainforest is internationally recognized for its forest management that is carried out at the community level, from ejidos in Mexico to forest concessions in Guatemala. Furthermore, Selva Maya is home to vast amounts of biodiversity, carbon storage and the livelihoods and culture of thousands of local and indigenous communities. It is also the location of some of the world’s most valuable archaeological sites.


Ongoing development in Mexico’s Mayan Riviera will continue to invest in and reshape the region with new hotels, apartment developments, and amenities for tourists. Meanwhile the vast tropical forest landscape (Selva Maya Mexico), just inland from the coast, remains threatened by socio-economic, political, and cultural factors. One of the proven conservation strategies in this region is the ejido system which empowers local communities to maintain the land they have been provided to manage, in turn providing sustainable livelihoods while conserving large areas of forest. 


In addition, Selva Maya tropical timber community enterprises have suffered from lack of visibility to equitable market pricing for timber. It is critical that this gap be reduced, and our forest community partners are equipped to supply the global tropical timber markets and collaborate at a regional level to strengthen their technical, business and trading capacities.


By linking the private sector, government agencies and non-governmental organizations with the ejido conservation system in a mutually beneficial manner, we aim to show that private sector investment can share the mission and benefit of local conservation. We aim to facilitate and de-risk economic links between ejidos and private sector by providing tropical timber that will benefit their business models. The result will be stronger “brand experience” offerings for the private sector and financial resources for conservation businesses. An additional outcome will be thousands of hectares of forests conserved through the community businesses.


Municipalities can source "conservation timber" from local ejidos to fulfil their climate and sustainability goals. Benches, boardwalks and bridges are good examples of city infrastructure that require durable wood in public spaces.

1. Tropical timber buyers and specifiers

Regional and international developers, designers, builders, and other timber buyers interested in sourcing conservation timber from government approved and NGO supported community forest management units.

2. Ejidos 

Community managed ejidos with approved Forest Management Programmes and capacity to supply timber at different points in the value chain.

3. Investors

Investors who are interested in further developing tropical conservation timber community enterprises in the Yucatan Peninsula.

4. NGOs

NGOs currently working with forest conservation and communities and that trade tropical timber in the Yucatan Peninsula aimed at strengthening local capacity and conservation outcomes.

5. Local government

Government representatives working with ejidos on issues such as: timber trade regulations, forest management regulations, financing, and government funding opportunities.

6. Other organisations

Those interested in furthering sustainable forest management and value chain development through public policy, financing and funding, investment, capacity building and access to global markets.

 Attendees Included:

Ejido Dziuché • Ejido La Esperanza
Ejido Noh Bec • Ejido Nuevo Becal
Ejido Caoba • Ejido Lázaro Cárdenas
Felipe Carrillo Puerto • Ejido Petcacab
Gral. Álvaro Obregón • X-Hazil y Anexos
Silva Maya Regiser

Contact Information

To reach us with any questions regarding the event, please send your email to

Who was this event for?

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Ejido Nuevo Becal (Source: Rainforest Alliance)

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