General information
Recommended solutions




Lack of personnel


Lack of personnel should not be a problem for a park like Tikal. The park makes enough income from entrance fees to be able to maintain the proper number of park guards.  While temporary hirings do help to ease the problem, evidence of illegal activity within the national park shows that this is still not enough.  One of the difficulties in tackling this problem stems from the fact that, to date, there is no Master Plan to establish medium-term guidelines for the area, which is why annual operating plans fail to meet its goals with a single vision for the future.  If in the future, a Master Plan seeks to increase the number of personnel to meet specific objectives, it will undoubtedly be much easier to line up the necessary funding for these hirings.


Forest fires


To solve this problem, swift action is needed on several simultaneous fronts plus a long-term commitment. Administrators have started working with nearby communities, and coordination between state and private entities has begun.  The incidence of forest fires could probably come down if work with outlying communities were to include incentives for establishing permanent crops that are compatible with the area.  Although, before embarking on such a program, a detailed impact study is imperative, including ecological, economic and social impacts.  The problem of forest fires could be tackled with greater hope of success if the activities are coordinated between the administration of Yaxhá, Nakum, Naranjo Natural Monuments and San Miguel la Palotada Protected Biosphere, so that communities work together in joint patrols and shared control posts.


Illegal extraction of forestry products and poaching


An increase in patrols, which would lead to increased control and monitoring, would offer a solution to both illegal extraction of forestry products and poaching. This problem will not be solved until the park solves the problem of the lack of guard personnel.  Increasing patrols in the areas where illegal extraction and poaching are most prevalent (in the west, southeast and northwest) must be complemented by establishing control posts along the most remote access routes, which are farthest from the central area, to ensure continuous guard presence.  These control posts could be coordinated together with the managers of nearby protected areas. This would increase guard presence not just in Tikal but also in neighboring parks.


Uncontrolled mass tourism


Uncontrolled mass tourism is a difficult problem to solve at the moment because there is a lack of political will to tackle the issue, at least among central government authorities.  The national park is seen as an important source of income, which is why day after day the government promotes more tourism.  In this context, one can see that it would be difficult to curb the activities of visitors, and could end up discouraging those very visitors. 


In workshops to prepare the Master Plan, it was insisted that a study be conducted to gauge the park's capacity to receive tourists.  This study would provide scientific guidance for a public use plan according to the area's capacities.  The RARE Center, with backing from UNESCO, is currently working on a public use plan for Tikal, which will be finished once the Master Plan is ready (Herdocia, 2002, per. com.).  This plan also should be backed by a study of the park's tourist capacity, in order to be able to make decisions based on the national park's real capacity.


Road construction projects


The negative impacts caused by roads running through the Maya Biosphere Reserve provide evidence that another road through the area would be completely unadvisable. Even though Tikal is a national park and thus, in theory, such a project would be illegal, the authorities' enthusiasm to push through such a project is alarming.  The will of the administrators to tackle a project of this kind, should it occur, will be key in putting a stop to this hazard (See the news from February 2002). 


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