The Cultural Context of Forest Degradation in Adjacent Purépechan Communities, Michoacán, Mexico
This study aims to understand the relationship between cultural and ecological drivers contributing to change in forest land use patterns by comparing two adjacent indigenous communities in the volcanic plateau region of Michoacán, Mexico. The study suggests that both cultural and ecological processes must be studied together to best understand the cultural causes of forest change and accurately assess ecological consequences.
Research Goals & Methods
The authors use forest sampling to assess 'typical' stand conditions including forest structure and composition. They assume that changes in species dominance toward less commercially valuable trees ie: oak and alder, (versus pine) was a valid measure of degradation. Interviews were also conducted, first with community leaders and then with adult men engaged in activities of woodworking.
Conclusions & Takeaways
Differences between the two communities were identified in terms of forest management strategies related to divergent local economies, which also correlated to the researchers' assessment of differences in natural forest conditions. Researchers recommend future research on a regional scale.
The cultural context of forest degradation in adjacent Purepechan communities, Michoacan, Mexico. The Geographical Journal. 2004;170:22–38. doi:10.1111/j.0016-7398.2004.05024.x..
- Department of Geography, Portland State University, Portland, OR