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Xalapa de Enríquez, Mexico

Negrete-Yankelevich S.,Institute Ecologia Ac Inecol Ac | Porter-Bolland L.,Institute Ecologia Ac Inecol Ac | Blanco-Rosas J.L.,University of Veracruz | Barois I.,Institute Ecologia Ac Inecol Ac
Environmental Management | Year: 2013

Land degradation is a serious problem in tropical mountainous areas. Market prices, technological development, and population growth are often invoked as the prime causes. Using historical agrarian documents, literature sources, and historical population data, we (1) provide quantitative and qualitative evidence that the land degradation present at Sierra de Santa Marta (Los Tuxtlas, Mexico) has involved a historical reduction in the temporal, spatial, and diversity scales, in which individual farmers make management decisions, and has resulted in decreased maize productivity; and (2) analyze how these three scalar changes can be linked to policy, population growth, and agrarian history. We conclude that the historical reduction in the scales of land use decision-making and practices constitutes a present threat to indigenous agricultural heritage. The long-term viability of agriculture requires that initiatives consider incentives for co-responsibility with an initial focus on self-sufficiency. © 2013 Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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