Basis for implementing restoration strategies: San Nicolás Zoyatlan social-ecological system (Guerrero, Mexico)

Type Journal Article - Revista Terra Latinoamericana
Title Basis for implementing restoration strategies: San Nicolás Zoyatlan social-ecological system (Guerrero, Mexico)
Volume 32
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2014
Page numbers 143-159
In LatinAmerica, indigenous communities have been
distinguished by continuous marginalization and
degradation of theirsocial-ecologicalsystems(SES), and
this is the case of San Nicolás Zoyatlan (Guerrero,
Mexico). With the purpose of establishing restoration
strategies, we conducted an in situ diagnosis to assess
the current condition of the community and its disturbance
factors. We combined methods of environmental and
social sciences to analyze, in diachronic and synchronic
contexts, how the SES’s natural resources are used.
Results indicate that the chronic ecological disturbance
of the SES and agrarian conflicts have contributed to
the degradation of vegetation and soil. Thus, vegetation
isimpoverished, with secondary tropical deciduous forest
(TDF) shrub vegetation predominating, and the risk of
soil degradation is high, despite the inhabitants’
knowledge and appreciation of this resource. To reverse
degradation, we defined and established rehabilitation
practices with the involvement of inhabitants. These
comprised agroforestry systems (AFSs) and plantations
(PLs) on community lands, using 18 native TDF species
selected on the basis of local preferences. Our ongoing
assessment indicates that after more than a decade, the
AFSs and PLs are maintained and managed by the
people, as reflected in the current size of plants whose
inputs contribute to improve physical and chemical soil
characteristics, such as soil aggregate formation,
exchange capacity and organic matter content. However,
we concluded that we need to confirm whether the
ecosystem processes and environmental services are
recovered and maintained over time, in addition to
determining how they have influenced and will continue
to influence the socioeconomic factors involved in
maintaining rehabilitation practices.

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