The Political Ecology of Land-Use Change: the Case of Affluent Ranchers and Destitute Farmers in the Mexican Municipio of Alamos
|The Political Ecology of Land-Use Change: the Case of Affluent Ranchers and Destitute Farmers in the Mexican Municipio of Alamos
|Year of Publication
|Vásquez-León, M, Liverman, D
This paper examines the interactions between the environment, political and economic policies, and changes in land use and land quality by focusing on one region in northwest Mexico where dramatic transformations have occurred since the early 1970s. A political ecology approach is used to examine the nature and causes of environmental change at different scales of analysis, to address the importance of meanings assigned to ecological systems, and the effect of human-environmental interactions on natural resources. The objective of the study is to uncover the different circumstances under which farmers and ranchers have affected environmental change and how land-use decisions interact with political, economic, and environmental drivers through history. An emphasis is placed on the complexity of interactions between drivers and on understanding differences in perspectives between large-scale commercial ranchers, more diversified small-scale farmers and ejidatarios, bureaucrats, and environmentalists. The study concludes that strategies for reducing deforestation and developing reasonable community-based plans that promote sustainable livelihoods must consider the local and external causes of deforestation, the difficulty of environmental monitoring, and intraregional differences in environmental and socioeconomic parameters.