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Revista mexicana de ciencias agrícolas

versão impressa ISSN 2007-0934

Rev. Mex. Cienc. Agríc vol.7 spe 16 Texcoco Mai./Jun. 2016



Cultural value of tree species in agroforestry systems in the mountain range of Huautla, Morelos

Bogard Burgos Herrera1 

Artemio Cruz León2  * 

Miguel Uribe Gómez2 

Alejandro Lara Bueno2 

Ranferi Maldonado Torres2 

1Posgrado en Ciencias Agroforestería para el Desarrollo Sostenible-Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. Carretera. México-Texcoco km 38.5, Chapingo, Texcoco. C. P. 56230, Estado de México. México. Tel: 595 952 540. (

2Universidad Autónoma Chapingo. Carretera. México-Texcoco, km 38.5, Chapingo, Texcoco. C. P. 56230, Estado de México. México. Tel: 595 952 1540. (;


The mountain range of Huautla is located south of the state of Morelos. In 1999 it was declared as Biosphere Reserve mountain range of Huautla (Rebiosh), by the presence of the tropical dry forest (SBC). Within the reserve are rural communities whose common endowment was affected by the decree of the Rebiosh. The people have used SBC plant resources, reflected in knowledge of this type of vegetation, use and management of most plant and animal species. The objective of this research was to identify tree species purpose to meet those high use value, and identify traditional knowledge in the conscious management of resources floristic Rebiosh. These mi-structured to me et the use of species and to calculate the index of cultural value (IC) of tree species interviews were conducted, samples were also made in the management systems with agroforestry technologies to calculate the index of importance value (VI) and determine the selection of exploited species. IC found higher values for: Eysenhardtia polystachia with 90%, 82% Mimosa benthamii, Haematoxilum brasiletto with 68% and 57% Crescentia alata. To VI they highlighted: Mimosa benthamii with 114% and 50% Crescentia alata, among others. We conclude that the people of Ajuchitlan been selected tree species for their use, creating agroforestry as a sustainable strategy.

Keywords: agroforestry; cultural value; importance value; Sierra of Huautla


La Sierra de Huautla se ubica al sur del estado de Morelos. En 1999 fue decretada como Reserva de la Biósfera Sierra de Huautla (Rebiosh), por la presencia de la selva baja caducifolia (SBC). Dentro de la reserva se encuentran comunidades rurales cuya dotación ejidal fue afectada por el decreto de La Rebiosh. Los habitantes han utilizado los recursos vegetales de SBC, que se refleja en el conocimiento de este tipo de vegetación, aprovechamiento y manejo de la mayoría de especies vegetales y animales. El objetivo de esta investigación fue identificar especies arbóreas de uso múltiple para conocer aquellas con alto valor de uso, e identificar el conocimiento tradicional en el manejo consciente de los recursos florísticos de la Rebiosh. Se realizaron entrevistas semiestructuradas para conocer el uso de las especies y poder calcular el índice de valor cultural (IC) de las especies arbóreas, también se realizaron muestreos en los sistemas de manejo con tecnologías agroforestales para calcular el índice de valor de importancia (VI) y determinar la selección de especies aprovechadas. Se encontró el IC con mayores valores para: Eysenhardtia polystachia con 90%, Mimosa benthamii con 82%, Haematoxilum brasiletto con 68% y Crescentia alata con 57%. Para VI resaltaron: Mimosa benthamii con 114% y Crescentia alata con 50%, entre otras. Concluimos que los pobladores de Ajuchitlán han seleccionado especies forestales para su aprovechamiento, creando sistemas agroforestales como estrategia sostenible.

Palabras clave: agroforestería; Sierra de Huautla; valor cultural; valor de importancia


The mountain range of Huautla is located south of the state of Morelos, bordering the states of Puebla and Guerrero. Given the importance of the low tropical dry forest (SBC) (Miranda and Hernández, 1963), or tropical deciduous forest, Rezendowski, (2006), it is as a result of the research work carried out by staff of the University Autonomous of Morelos in 1999 was declared as Biosphere Reserve mountain range of Huautla (REBIOSCH), (Dorado et al., 1995). Within the reserve are rural communities whose common endowment was affected by the decree of the REBIOSCH. The people have used plant resources of SBC, reflected in knowledge of this type of vegetation, use and management of most plant species and animals in México is considered one of the countries with the highest both biological and cultural diversity in the world.

Toledo (2012), has 30 groups of vegetation (Miranda and Hernández, 1963) and represents the second great biocultural wealth of the world with 68 groups and 364 linguistic variants indigenous languages. Thanks to this built one of the most important civilizational universes of the world, were created and modeled new landscapes and the emergence of production models allowed using natural resources, which resulted in over a hundred domesticated species, and a herbalist comprising more 4 thousand species, creating a cultural memory along almost 9 000 years, which represents the core of the biocultural heritage of Mexico (Toledo, 2012).

The SBC is considered a large reservoir of genetic resources for their high degree of native species with multiple uses for man (Dirzo, 1996). A study by Argueta (1994) evidence is in this type of vegetation where residents use about 55% of plant species, medicinal being the largest number. The floristic resources of the SBC have been part of the culture of the communities living in the area of distribution of this type of vegetation; this use has generated knowledge associated with the use of vegetation as medicine, food, construction and hedgerows, among others (Monroy and Ayala, 2003).

This type of knowledge is known as farmers' knowledge or local agricultural knowledge (Díaz et al., 2004). There is the idea that it is only the survival of ancient practices and is disqualified by the western scientific knowledge to be linked to religious practices; current social changes have led to the disintegration and degradation of local knowledge systems, increasing the risk of loss due to the absence of records of such knowledge (Pérez and Argueta, 2011).

It is therefore essential to highlight the importance of farmers' knowledge, since it dominates its environment and distinguishes those resources that they possess desirable characteristics and provide benefits (Altieri, 1993). Levi-Strauss, cited by Pérez and Argueta (2011), first exposed the need to legitimize, systematizing, writing, formalize and validate traditional knowledge, assuming that it instruments of Western science required to move from a fuzzy knowing objective knowledge; i.e. move from the local validity to the universal validity.

Based on the above, this study aims to identify and calculate the importance of plant species useful in different agroforestry technologies to incorporate traditional knowledge to the processes of research and development of new technologies and help to generate and establish bases for the design of new agroforestry proposals in the use and conservation of the resources of the SBC.

Materials and methods

Literature review

The most recent studies on the study area and the subject, particularly agroforestry systems as well as cultural and ecological importance of the species in the SBC in the state of Morelos were reviewed, with reference to the ethnobotanical studies and those include traditional knowledge of tree species in the mountain range of Huautla, Morelos.


In order to obtain information from forest management in various systems, semi-structured interviews were applied to people engaged in agriculture, livestock and forestry, on the age range of 20 producers to 60 years; thus, 80% of respondents exceeded 50 years of age. In the interview general data such as were taken: producer’s name, age, agricultural land and forestry exploited that throughout the year is necessary and allows income. In the same way the interview included a specific section of forest management and utilization throughout the year, and knowledge of the different tree species, based on the utility of these forest species over time, this in order to get the index of cultural value tree species.

Index cultural importance of tree species

The cultural value of tree species was determined by the rate of cultural importance proposed by Figueroa (2000) and used by Otero (2005). This required the construction of a double entry matrix, which allowed quantify the values: intensity of use, frequency of mention and use value, necessary for obtaining the index of cultural significance.

The cultural significance index used has the following mathematical expression:

Where: IIC= index of cultural significance, as the sum of the intensity of use, frequency of mention and use value; Iuz= intensity of use, considered as the percentage of use for a plant species z; Fmz= frequency of mention, considered the percentage of mentions for z plant species of the total for all uses among all informants; Vutz= the value of total usage for the plant species z, as the sum of all values of z use of the species in the category of use x (Vux) to (vun).

Ecological importance and value of floristic diversity indices

For the importance value of tree and shrub species of agroforestry systems in the mountain range of Huautla, representative systems with agroforestry and silvopastoral management were selected, for which they were drawn at random transects, based sampling unit an area of 100 m2, forming a rectangle with lines 5 meters wide by 16 meters long, which was divided into 4 intervals measuring 20 m2 each (5 x 4) (Figure 1).

Figure 1 Sampling area and its divisions for trees and shrubs. 

In the four measurement intervals tree and shrub species present were recorded: common name, frequency and dominance in each interval of appearance.

In each two transects sampling system for the registration of plant species they were carried out, obtaining 10 lines in total, with 20 m line spacing.

Capture, systematize and analyze the information obtained was done in sheet calculation Excel 2010.

Collection of botanical material

collections of botanical material were made during the transects, following the methodology of Lot and Chiang (1986), for later identification of plant species present, using a wooden press botanical standard measure of 30 x 42 cm; three or four copies of each plant species were collected; in addition, the collection was based photographic material as an aid to identifying the species collected, registering common name, appearance interval line transect and date of collection, coinciding with the photographic material.


Forestry in the common of Ajuchitlán

The forestry is a process of transforming natural resources into goods for household consumption. The agricultural area is managed with agroforestry technologies as a means of reproduction of forest species for timber, medicinal, food, forage, ceremonial, ornamental use, etc., as in the case of tecolhuixtle (Mimosa bentamhii), which provides poles of excellent quality for repairing fences and corrals management; the cuachalalate (Amphipterygium adstringens), tree of great cultural importance and high medicinal value throughout the territory of the mountain range of Huautla; brazilwood (Heamatoxylum brassileto), multipurpose species used as firewood and has medicinal properties; licorice (Einserhactia polystachia), medicinal species and durability as fence posts; Cuatecomate (Crescentia alata), a species with medicinal and commercial value, as some people in the community gather fruit for sale abroad. The agrosilvopastoral are within the system the following useful species (Table 1).

Table 1 Tree species and their use in agroforestry systems common Ajuchitlán, mountain range of Huautla, Morelos. 

As agricultural production, forestry activities are closely linked to livestock, the main source of income; no clutch, knowledge of the region to integrate resources available SBC has enabled producers develop sustainable systems in the use of natural resources for subsistence and reproduction of family production units.

Cultural value of tree species in agroforestry systems in the common of Ajuchitlán

The cultural value index was obtained of tree species present in the SBC based on the use that give them the inhabitants of Ajuchitlán (Table 2).

Table 2 Estimated cultural value index for tree species due to its importance for the habitants of Ajuchitlán. 

The Table 2 shows the species with greater cultural index is located, this tells us the importance of use of such species within the culture of the community; thus we have the kind Eysenhardtia polystachia (licorice) with the largest cultural index calculated, this species has more than one use and the most important is its use as poles, highly prized for its durability fences; peasant posts talk about this species who have reached 70 years of duration, so their high appreciation. It is also medicinal, timber and fuel. Next in importance Mimosa benthamii (tecolhuixtle), which is then used to obtain high-quality posts and durability fences; livestock dominates the landscape in the agroforestry system, for its regrowth capacity is favored for growth within the system.

Importance value of tree species in the agroforestry system

The use given to the different species involves a selective change in the growth pattern of these, this influence determined by the man is the main factor that modifies the natural ecosystems in systems sustainable use in many occasions. In the table below we can see the importance value of species found in the agroforestry system, where the species with the highest importance to this system is the tecolhuixtle (mimosa benthamii) with 114%, this clearly demonstrates the selective pressure of the inhabitants of Ajuchitlán to this spice given its characteristics of use, the same way we can see that the Cuatecomate (Crescentia alata) has 50% of importance in the system from the rest of the other species, also it has desirable characteristics that allow its permanence within the system (Table 3).

Table 3 Value of important tree species in the agroforestry system. 

DR= Densidad relativa; DmR= dominancia relativa; FR= frecuencia relativa; VI= valor de importancia de la especie arbórea.

The species found within this system have more than one use, there are medicinal as cuatecomata (Crescentia alata), cuachalalate (Amphipterygium adstringens), Granjel (Randia echinocarpa) and stick Brazil (Haematxylum brasiletto) also excel fuel use as cubata (Acacia cochliacantha), quiebracho (Lonchocarpus rugosus), brazilwood (Haematxylum brasiletto), and forage value as Guazima (Guazuma ulmifolia), kills rat (Gliricidia sepium) and cubata (Acaciacochliacantha).

The index values of importance are directly related to the rate of cultural importance, as the tree species showed high importance values are the same as had greater cultural appreciation, tree selection in the SBC mountain range of Huautla , it corresponds to the needs of rural families use.


The cultural value of tree species in the common of Ajuchitlán is directly by the different uses assigned, analysis places them in the category of multipurpose species because they meet needs of the household in more than one category of use, same selection pressure of forest species in production systems are the result of the use by the different uses of these species, which a system of agroforestry that allows reproduction, propagation and sustainable management of species is created. This operation was perfected by rural communities over time with constant interaction of resources deciduous forest generating and accumulating local knowledge in the management, use and reproduction of tree species.

Literatura citada

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Argueta, A. (coord.). 1994. Atlas de las plantas de la medicina tradicional mexicana .Tomos I, II y III. Instituto Nacional Indigenista, México. [ Links ]

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Dirzo, R. 1996. Diversidad de flora mexicana. Cemex, México, 191 p. [ Links ]

Dorado, O. Arias, D. M; Alonso, G. y Maldonado, B. 2005. Educación para la biodiversidad a través de la universidad pública en áreas naturales protegidas: el caso de la Reserva de la Biosfera Sierra de Huautla, Morelos. Universidad Autónoma de Morelos. México. 26 p. [ Links ]

Lot , A. y Chiang, F. 1986. Manual del herbario. Administración y manejo de colecciones, ténicas de recolección y preparación de ejemplares botánicos, Departamento de Botánica, Instituto de Biología y Consejo Nacional de f lora de México. UNAM. 142 p. [ Links ]

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Otero, Z. R. 2005. Árboles nativos de usos múltiples y sistemas agroforestales tradicionales en el municipio de Acapulco de Juárez, Guerrero. Tesis de Grado. Universidad Autónoma Chapingo, Texcoco, México. 181 p. [ Links ]

Pérez, R. M.L. y Argueta, V. A. 2011. Saberes indígenas y diálogo intercultural. Cultura científica y saberes locales. Año 5, núm. 10. México. 35-56 pp. [ Links ]

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Received: March 2016; Accepted: June 2016

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