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Terra Latinoamericana

On-line version ISSN 2395-8030Print version ISSN 0187-5779


CERVANTES GUTIERREZ, Virginia; GAMA CASTRO, Jorge E.; ROLDAN ARAGON, Iván E.  and  HERNANDEZ CARDENAS, Gilberto. Basis for implementing restoration strategies: San Nicolás Zoyatlan social-ecological system (Guerrero, Mexico). Terra Latinoam [online]. 2014, vol.32, n.2, pp.143-159. ISSN 2395-8030.

In Latin America, indigenous communities have been distinguished by continuous marginalization and degradation of their social-ecological systems (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 is impoverished, 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, cation 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.

Keywords : agrarian conflicts; chronic disturbance; environmental services; rehabilitation actions; tropical deciduous forest.

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