Zapotec Community of IxtlÁn de JuÁrez
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Ixtlán de Juárez is a town of 2,479 people located about 60 km north of Oaxaca City, and is easily accessible by a paved highway. Its largest building, the Iglesia Santo Tomas, was completed in 1734. Ixtlán is a relatively prosperous community, with its own community-owned gas station, transportation service, sawmill and furniture factory (presently supplied by a carefully managed forest certified by the Forest Stewardship Council). It is the capital of the municipio of the same name (total population, 7,188 in 2005), as well as the capital of the distrito (a broader political and administrative region unique to Oaxaca.)
The urban area is located within a comunidad agraria, and with just over 184 square kilometers it is by far the largest the municipio. In many ways it is a model community, with a proven commitment to sustainable development and strong democratic traditions whereby the General Assembly of all comuneros is the maximum authority on matters of significance. Most of the territory is forested, including a reserve area, and as the economy continues to shift away from agricultural production, fallow fields are being reforested. The communal territory contains a tremendous variety of natural habitats and biodiversity, with elevations ranging from just below 300 meters above sea level in the north to over 3,100 meters where is straddles an important regional watershed.