An economic analysis of Huastec Mayan forest management

TitleAn economic analysis of Huastec Mayan forest management
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1989
AuthorsAlcorn, JB
EditorBrowder, JO
Book TitleFragile lands of Latin America: Strategies for sustainable development
Date Published1989
PublisherWestview Press
CityBoulder, CO
ISBN0-8133-7705-6; 978-0-8133-7705-6
Keywordsagroforestry; Huastec; Latin America; Maya; Mexico

In this paper, I describe and evaluate a type of "social forestry" system currently used by indigenous farmers living at a density of 100 persons per square kilometer in a zone of "fragile lands" in northeastern Mexico. This zone can be classified as fragile for several reasons. It is a zone where bare soil is easily damaged by heavy rains and hot sun. It is a zone of slopes subject to erosion by runoff from the heavy rains. The land use I describe is not limited to the specific physical or social conditions of my study site. Systems similar to that of the Huastec have been described from other areas and could be applied by trained smallholders living in any forested area, regardless of forest type or slope.

The advantages of this systems are that it complements production from other farm subunits, gives farmers access to subsistence goods, produces commercially valuable products, conserves wild genetic resources of forest species, and protects soils. (author)


Chapter 12

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