Distant political-economic forces and global-to-local pathway to impacts on forests of ejido landscapes across Yucatán, México

Authors: Ted J. Lawrence*, Cornell University, Stephen J. Morreale, Cornell University, Richard C. Stedman, Cornell University
Topics: Landscape, Land Use and Land Cover Change, Spatial Analysis & Modeling
Keywords: Commodity markets, land tenure, livelihoods, land use, forest cover
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Indigenous community land tenure in many locations worldwide is shifting towards individually parcelized and privatized systems. Among the drivers of this shifting land tenure, are distant political-economic forces and commodity markets, from local to global. Accompanying the observed land tenure changes are shifts in livelihoods, away from subsistence-based, and toward market-oriented activities. These changes can ultimately impact land use, land cover and biodiversity conservation. We investigated a global-to-local pathway, from agriculture, livestock and forestry production for distant markets, extending through shifting land tenure and livelihoods, to impacts on forest cover within ejidos (a type of community landholding) across Yucatán, México. To reveal this pathway, we conducted exploratory data analysis, using ordinary least squares regression, mapped variables, and conducted variographic analyses to assess spatial patterns and correlations. We further explored relationships among variables using spatially explicit simultaneous autoregressive models. We found that commodity production for distant markets is strongly related to parcelized ejido lands, which in turn are often deforested. Conversely, community-managed lands, which traditionally involve subsistence-based agroforestry, are much more likely to be densely forested. Overall, we conclude that recent deforestation of ejido lands across the state is, at least partly, the result of shifting land tenure and livelihoods due to the increasing presence of commodity markets. Moreover, we conclude that community-managed lands and associated subsistence livelihoods can attenuate deforestation and potentially advance forest and biodiversity conservation across México and elsewhere.

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