The conceptualization of land use is based on different systems and management strategies according to the level of interaction between populations and natural resources. Some refer to territories under some form of federal, state or municipal conservation protection, others to local or regional ecological planning systems, to community systems and finally to planning systems in urban areas.
The most relevant system for communities whose economy depends on intensive access to natural resources is ecological planning. This environmental policy instrument regulates land use and production activities to achieve environmental protection, preservation and the sustainable use of natural resources based on the analysis of deterioration trends and potential of use of natural resources.



One of the prerequisites for ensuring the sustainable management of resources is the joint effort by different sectors of development and different levels of government. In Guatemala, for example, the National Council for Protected Areas (CONAP), is responsible for the management of protected areas, one of which is the Maya Biosphere Reserve (MBR). In parallel, the Ministry of Planning and Programming of the Presidency (SEGEPLAN) is responsible for planning community development, including communities found in protected area Buffer Zones. With the state’s support, SEGEPLAN executes basic infrastructure projects, improving the quality of life of the populations located in and outside these areas.
CONAP and SEGEPLAN have conducted joint training and technical meetings to encourage municipalities to develop work plans according to the rules established in the different protected area zones, taking into account environmental legislation. It is essential to continue strengthening interagency coordination so that ecosystems are not affected by the dynamics of natural resource management implemented by populations in the region.



The Municipal Council for the Sustainable Rural Development of Calakmul (CMDRS) in Campeche, Mexico is an example of broad social participation where producers and representatives from communities, the three branches of government and civil society meet to promote sustainable rural development in the municipal territory of Calakmul. The CMDRS meets monthly at their General Assembly of Advisors, and serves as an advisory and management body with the participation of producers and other actors of the rural society of Calakmul. It is involved in defining regional priorities and attempts to influence planning of resources that the federal, the state government and the municipality agree to earmark to invest in production for sustainable rural development.