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México's incredibly diverse forests are designated by federal regulations as “multipurpose” and managed for the benefit and economic welfare of the local communities. In addition to traditional wood products, the forests provide grazing lands, nonwood forest products, fuelwood, and ecosystem services. Unfortunately, growing populations and the structure of the community forest enterprises are placing increasing stress on forest resources. Furthermore, illegal harvesting, selective logging, routine burning for forage production, and unsuccessful reforestation efforts have depleted forest resources in many regions. Few local communities possess adequate forest nurseries to properly reforest degraded areas. The recent recommitment to nursery production and reforestation by Comisión Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR) should lead to improved stand establishment and growth, especially as forest communities understand the critical link between reforestation and sustained forest productivity. CONAFOR, a federal agency responsible for reforestation programs, has restructured nursery production, reduced the total number of nurseries, and contracted with newly established, private nurseries that now produce 38 million seedlings/year (about 20% of all seedlings produced). The number of community nurseries has shrunk with this greater reliance on private and military (SEDENA) nurseries, which tend to be larger and more sophisticated and use containerized seedlings rather than polybag systems. The objective of this article is to discuss factors leading to these changes and the challenges facing the reforestation program.
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Me´xico—Addressing Challenges
to Reforestation
Owen Burney, Arnulfo Aldrete, Rafael Alvarez Reyes,
Jose´ A. Prieto Ruı´z, Jose´R.Sa´nchez Velazquez, and
John G. Mexal
Me´xico’s incredibly diverse forests are designated by federal regulations as “multipurpose” and managed for
the benefit and economic welfare of the local communities. In addition to traditional wood products, the forests
provide grazing lands, nonwood forest products, fuelwood, and ecosystem services. Unfortunately, growing
populations and the structure of the community forest enterprises are placing increasing stress on forest
resources. Furthermore, illegal harvesting, selective logging, routine burning for forage production, and
unsuccessful reforestation efforts have depleted forest resources in many regions. Few local communities possess
adequate forest nurseries to properly reforest degraded areas. The recent recommitment to nursery production
and reforestation by Comisio´n Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR) should lead to improved stand establishment and
growth, especially as forest communities understand the critical link between reforestation and sustained forest
productivity. CONAFOR, a federal agency responsible for reforestation programs, has restructured nursery
production, reduced the total number of nurseries, and contracted with newly established, private nurseries that
now produce 38 million seedlings/year (about 20% of all seedlings produced). The number of community
nurseries has shrunk with this greater reliance on private and military (SEDENA) nurseries, which tend to be
larger and more sophisticated and use containerized seedlings rather than polybag systems. The objective of this
article is to discuss factors leading to these changes and the challenges facing the reforestation program.
Keywords: nursery production, conifers, tropical forests, artificial regeneration, containerized seedlings
pproximately 80% of Me´xico’s for-
ests are publicly owned by local
communities (“ejidos”) (Bray et al.
2005a), comparable to Canada where most
of the forestland is publically owned (federal
or provincial). The forest ownership in the
United States is split 60:40 between private
and public. This system of locally owned
and managed forests was established in the
1930s by Miguel Angel de Quevedo, the
father of Mexican forestry (de Quevedo
1935). Whereas the communities “owned”
the forests, the federal government oversaw
and regulated harvest operations and often
awarded concessions to companies without
community input. In the 1970s, individual
communities formed independent forestry
enterprises to better manage forests and the
federal government hired professional for-
esters to assist. Unfortunately, in the early
1980s, funding responsibility was trans-
ferred to the communities, which many, es-
pecially the smaller, could not afford, and
the program was discontinued (Merino-
Pe´rez and Segura-Warnholtz 2005).
The current number of ejido-managed
forests is not clear but could be 2,000,
with forests ranging in size from 500 to
67,000 acres. Many have community-
managed forest enterprises (CFEs), which
include small processing mills. These mills
often are inefficient and frequently have not
adapted to the smaller logs harvested today.
Furthermore, sustainable management pre-
scriptions (i.e., harvested volume restric-
tions) may require mills to close for up to 6
months in a year, restricting income oppor-
tunities (Torres-Rojo et al. 2005).
Locally managed CFEs have received
praise from the global community (Bray et
al. 2005b, Ellis et al. 2014), but not all CFEs
are equally successful. Some, such as one in
the state of Michoaca´n, are highly successful
and serve as a model for CFEs worldwide
(Antinori and Bray 2005). However, CFEs
can also be prone to abuse and corruption
(Klooster 1999), especially if ejidos consist
of both Amerindians and mestizos (com-
Received January 23, 2014; accepted February 23, 2015; published online May 14, 2015.
Affiliations: Owen Burney (, New Me´xico State University, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences. Arnulfo Aldrete
(, Colegio de Postgraduados. Rafael Alvarez Reyes (, Comisíon Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR). Jose´ A. Prieto
Ruíz (, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales, Agricolas y Pecuarias (INIFAP). Jose´R.Sa´nchez Velazquez (rsanchez@, CONAFOR. John G. Mexal (, New Me´xico State University, Department of Plant and Environmental Sciences, Las
Cruces, NM.
Acknowledgments: This work was partially supported by the New Me´xico State University Agricultural Experiment Station.
404 Journal of Forestry July 2015
J. For. 113(4):404413
Copyright © 2015 Society of American Foresters
bined Amerindian and European descent)
(Antinori 2005). Thus, there is tremendous
pressure for forest resources to provide in-
come and employment to “ejidatarios”
(community members). Unfortunately, this
pressure can lead to deforestation and degra-
dation of existing forests with little subse-
quent reinvestment in equipment, roads, or
forest management (Wilshusen 2005).
Although many ejidos manage harvest
and milling operations, few have seedling
nurseries and mostly rely on federal nurseries
to provide seedlings. To counteract defores-
tation, 500,000 acres were reforested each
year in Me´xico during the last decade. How-
ever, seedling survival 1 year after establish-
ment was 50% in many cases (Bello Lara
and Cibria´n Tovar 2000). Numerous factors
contribute to this high rate of mortality in-
cluding drought, poor seedling quality, in-
appropriate time of planting, marginal seed-
ling transportation and storage facilities, and
inadequate infrastructure. Recently, the
Comisio´n Nacional Forestal (CONAFOR),
the Mexican federal institution responsible
for the coordination of seedling production
and reforestation programs, reorganized the
national nursery and reforestation program
to better address deforestation. This re-
newed commitment to the nursery and
reforestation programs is the topic of this
Climatic and Geographic
The forests of Me´xico occur at elevations
ranging from sea level for tropical hardwoods
to 13,000 ft where both pines (Pinus spp.)
and fir (Abies spp.) occur. Forest soils are
classified as calcisols, leptosols, regosols, and
vertisols (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y
Recursos Naturales [SEMARNAT] 2006).
Me´xico has a variable climate that includes
tropical regions receiving 79 in. of annual
precipitation, arid, temperate regions with
12–47 in. of annual precipitation, and des-
ert landscapes that receive around 10 in. of
annual precipitation. Precipitation tends to
decrease moving northward and toward the
interior of the country. Most precipitation
occurs during the summer monsoon season
(July through October), with snow occur-
ring at the higher elevations.
Forest Types
Temperate forests are important eco-
systems consisting primarily of Pinus and
Quercus species in regions with precipitation
ranging from 24 to 47 in. per year. In 2014,
Me´xico had 345 million acres of forest-
land, including 162 million acres of open
woodland, encompassing 70% of the total
land area (CONAFOR 2015). Forest types
range from the dry temperate conifer forests
of northern Me´xico to the tropical rain for-
ests of southern Me´xico. The primary use of
forests in Me´xico is “multipurpose,” i.e., be-
ing used not only for wood products but also
for grazing and nonwood forest products.
Approximately 17% of Me´xico’s land
area comprises temperate forests (pine or
pine-oak) in the Sierra Madre Occidental,
Sierra Madre Oriental, and Sierra Madre del
Sur (Palacio-Prieto et al. 2000) (Figure 1).
The important taxa are up to 46 species of
Pinus (Perry 1991, Farjon et al. 1997), 200
species of Quercus (“encino”) (Rzedowski
1988), Abies religiosa (“oyamel”), Pseudot-
suga menziesii (“abeto”), Cupressus lusitanica
(“cedro blanco”), and Taxodium mucrona-
tum (“ahuehuete”). Harvest activities focus
primarily on pine species.
Tropical forests occupy about 16% of
the country along the coasts and the Yucatan
peninsula (Palacio-Prieto et al. 2000) and
are equally divided between rainforests
and forests with pronounced dry seasons.
Important tropical species include Cedrela
odorata (“cedro rojo”), Swietenia macro-
phylla (“caoba”), Tabebuia rosea (“maculis”),
Leucaena leucocephala (“guaje”), and exotic
species Gmelina arborea (“melina”), Tectona
grandis (“teca”), and Eucalyptus spp. How-
ever, harvests of valuable tropical hardwoods
(i.e., “caoba” and “cedro rojo”) represent
1% of the total annual harvest (Vester and
Navarro-Martínez 2005). Other tropical
hardwood species are harvested for railroad
ties. Important woodland species include
Prosopis glandulosa (“mezquite”) and Acacia
spp. (“huizache”), which occupy about 26%
of the total land area (Figure 1).
Forest Production
Forest productivity ranges from 3.75 to
12 tons/acre/year with the highest produc-
tivity in the semitropical and tropical forest
regions (Food and Agriculture Organization
of the United Nations [FAO] 2003a). The
conifer region of northern Me´xico (Chihua-
hua and Durango) has the capacity to pro-
duce 5–7.5 tons/acre/year, comparable to
that of unimproved southern pine planta-
tions in the southeastern United States
(Stanturf et al. 2003). Me´xico produces
2% of the North America wood products
despite having nearly 10% of the total for-
estland (FAO 1997). The estimated value
garnered from these forestlands is only $22/
acres for Me´xico, compared with $155/acres
for US forestlands. The value of timber har-
Management and Policy Implications
Formerly, most forest nurseries were small and considered primarily as sources of employment for
communities. Seedling quality often was a secondary consideration. Transitioning from polybag systems
to modern containerized systems with subsequent improvements in seedling quality should result in greater
seedling survival and growth. Further consolidation of nurseries and improvements in technology will
probably lead to sustainable forest management predicated on successful reforestation efforts. Changes
unlikely to occur are in the individual management of forest units by local community forest enterprises
(CFEs). Therefore, it is critical that both national needs (e.g., watershed protection and carbon
sequestration) and community needs (e.g., employment and nonwood forest products [NWFPs]) be
integrated into a national forest management strategy that is implemented at the “ejido” (community)
level. There are examples of successful CFEs (e.g., Ellis et al. 2014), but also examples that were initially
successful and later faltered. Torres-Rojo et al. (2005) noted that a Continuing Forestry Education Program
in the state of Guerrero greatly increased contributions to social programs as investment loans for
processing equipment were paid. However, continued investments in forestry increased only slightly,
hardly a model for sustainable forest management. Greater investment of proceeds in infrastructure and
silviculture will enhance the long-term goals. A productive, free-to-grow forest can provide both
commensurable values (timber, NWFPs, and forage) and ecosystem services (carbon sequestration and
watershed protection) to the community and nation, provided that the “ejidatarios” (community members)
are full partners in a move to more productive forests (Charnley 2005). The forest must be viewed as
a renewable resource to be managed for current and future generations rather than as an extractive
industry, whether the product is forage for livestock, fuelwood, legal and illegal timber harvesting, or even
foodstuffs (mushrooms). Shared resources require shared responsibilities and produce shared benefits.
Journal of Forestry July 2015 405
vests for lumber and plywood amounted to
$565 million in 2012, but the roundwood
harvest has declined from about 350 million
to 200 million ft
over the last 30
years (Instituto Nacional de Estadística,
Geografía y Informa´tica 1996, 2010) (Fig-
ure 2, left). These harvest levels do not in-
clude illegal harvesting, which may equal le-
gal harvests in total volume. In addition,
FAO (2006) estimates that legal harvests are
20% higher than the official reports. There
is a bimodal appearance to the historic har-
vest level, with the decline in harvests coin-
ciding with the monetary devaluation of
1994 and the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) signed the same year.
Although NAFTA allowed less expensive
wood products into Me´xico, the peso deval-
uation tended to equalize costs (Zabin
1998), and the harvest level recovered
quickly but then continued to decline.
Much of the harvested roundwood is
coniferous with 50% coming from the
states of Chihuahua and Durango (Figure 2,
right), followed by Michoaca´n, Jalisco, and
Me´xico (SEMARNAT 2011a). All of the
states experienced greatly reduced harvests
since the peak harvests of 1985. Further-
more, the percent conifer harvest has de-
clined from 90 to 80% recently (Figure 2,
left). This is partially explained by the de-
crease in conifer stocking (Chapela 2005).
Because pines have been selectively har-
vested, oaks and other species have become
dominant, in part due to limited reinvest-
ment in management and equipment (Tay-
lor 2005) and poor reforestation success.
Harvested timber is used for various
products in Me´xico, including lumber
(60% of harvest), pulpwood (20%),
plywood, fuelwood, and specialty wood
products (e.g., molding). Currently, con-
sumption of wood products is nearly twice
the annual internal production, resulting in
an increasing trade imbalance (Guerrero et
al. 2011). After NAFTA, Me´xico nearly
doubled its imported wood products to $4
billion annually, with nearly 90% coming
from the United States. Concurrently, ex-
ports of wood products increased to $1.5
billion with up to 97% going to the United
States. Improved reforestation with subse-
quent increased forest productivity could al-
leviate some of the trade imbalance.
Whereas most of the forest’s value is derived
from timber harvests, 90% of the forest-
lands are designated as multipurpose. Har-
vest of nonwood forest products (NWFPs)
includes mushrooms, pinenuts, exudates
(pine resin, gutta percha), medicinal plants,
and aromatics, all of which are an important
source of income for rural communities.
The value of fuelwood was $19 million in
Figure 1. Forest types of Me´xico (Couturier et al. 2012 from Palacio-Prieto et al. 2000,
Figure 2. Total (Œ) and conifer (u) roundwood production (ft
)inMe´xico since 1980 (pre-1994, r
0.94; post-1994, r
0.75), and top
10 producing states for 1985, 1990, and 2010 (Instituto Nacional de Estadı´stica, Geografı´a y Informa´tica 1996, 2010).
406 Journal of Forestry July 2015
2010 (FAO 2011) and is probably underval-
ued. Nearly 25% of the populace lives in
rural areas, and most (80%) rely on fuel-
wood for their energy needs (FAO 2003a).
Masera (1996) estimated that the fuelwood
harvest was three times the legal timber har-
vest. Even at a base price for carbon of
, that would represent a value of
$180 million or 10 times the value re-
ported (FAO 2011).
Pressures on Forest Resources
Population growth in ejidos has placed
increased pressure on forest resources. This has
resulted in a loss of 500,000 870,000 acres
of Me´xico’s forestland (about 0.8%/year)
annually to deforestation (Cairns et al.
1997, FAO 1997), with some estimates as
high as 4.0 million acres/year (Mas et al.
2009). Deforestation is caused by land-use
change (82%), illegal harvesting (8%), arson
(6%), and other factors (4%) (Center for
International Forestry Research [CIFOR]
2010). From 1999 to 2012, nearly 6,000
fires affected 750,000 acres annually
(CONAFOR 2013). Most fires were inten-
tionally set, usually during the winter
months to promote spring regrowth of for-
age (Roma´n-Cuesta et al. 2004), and only
3% were prescribed fires. Unfortunately,
“burning off the woods” to promote forage
regrowth can also destroy recent reforesta-
tion efforts, as can subsequent grazing
(Mexal et al. 2009). Land-use change is the
major cause of deforestation and occurs in
response to population growth and en-
croachment into forests for homesites or tra-
ditional shifting (slash and burn) agriculture
(Barbier and Burgess 2001). As an example,
the states of Chiapas (Couturier et al. 2012)
and Guerrero (Dura´n et al. 2011) in south-
ern Me´xico have lost one-third of their for-
estland in the last 20 years. Tropical defor-
estation could result in one-fifth of endemic
species becoming extinct in the next 20 years
(Mendoza and Dirzo 1999). Furthermore,
deforestation accounts for 10–15% of
Me´xico’s total greenhouse gas emissions.
Elimination of deforestation coupled with
effective reforestation will mitigate 1 mil-
lion tonnes carbon dioxide equivalent per
year (tCO
e/year) (CIFOR 2010).
Nursery Systems
Before the mid-1990s, most nurseries
in Me´xico used the polybag (i.e., polyethyl-
ene bags) production system. During this
time, there were an abundance of small nurs-
eries (600) throughout the country (e.g.,
Figure 3). These nurseries had poor linkages
between seedling production and areas re-
quiring reforestation (SEMARNAT 2011b,
2011c). However, in the early 1990s Presi-
dent Carlos Salinas de Gortari promoted ef-
forts to decrease deforestation and increase
forest restoration, thereby helping to link
seedling production with acreage reforested.
The government investment in forest resto-
ration was stimulated by the assistance of the
federal military (SEDENA) in developing
Me´xico’s first nursery programs using mod-
ern nursery containers, as the existing refor-
estation agency was reluctant to either ex-
pand production or modernize existing
nurseries. This conversion was necessary be-
cause seedlings grown in polybags tend to be
poor in quality because of spiraled root sys-
tems (Venator et al. 1985) and the use of
heavy, native soils. In an effort to produce
higher quality seedlings, these new container
nurseries were based on the systems used in
the United States and Canada (e.g., copper-
blocks with 112 or 160 cavities and 4.0 and
4.9 in
Despite these conversions, Aldana Barajas
(2000) conducted a survey of many nurser-
ies throughout the country, indicating that
70% of the seedlings were still produced in
polybags with the remaining 30% in mod-
ern containers (SEDENA nurseries), and a
small percentage of seedlings were produced
in bareroot nurseries (Aldana Barajas 2000).
Most nurseries were found to have signifi-
cant problems impeding optimal growing
conditions including infrastructure (irriga-
tion), manual labor, suitable growing media
alternatives, and lack of training.
As of 2013, the number of nurseries has
declined from 600 in the early 1990s to
358 (Figure 4; Table 1). These nurseries
are currently producing approximately 275
million seedlings/year, almost 75% of which
are grown in modern containerized systems.
Most seedlings are grown under contract
with the federal government (CONAFOR)
(Table 1). SEDENA manages most of the
larger nurseries, each growing about 3 mil-
lion seedlings/year, followed by public and
private nurseries, which produce 2 million
seedlings/year on average under a fixed-
price, fixed-quality contract to CONAFOR.
Smaller nurseries, usually under ejido con-
trol, produce 500,000 seedlings/year on a
fixed price and prescribed quality contract
(conciliatory and collaborative agreement).
The advantages of having many small nurs-
eries include employment opportunities in
local communities, use of local seed sources
for production, and proximity to the plant-
ing site. The disadvantages are greater vari-
ability in technical capabilities, loss of econ-
omies of scale efficiencies, greater costs,
and less control over quality issues. As
CONAFOR progresses, greater consolida-
tion of nurseries is likely to occur, leading to
Figure 3. A small polybag nursery installed on contours in a forest hillside in the state of
Michoaca´n, Me´xico.
Journal of Forestry July 2015 407
a conversion to larger, containerized nurser-
ies with better cost and quality control.
Currently, the conversion to modern
containers and fewer nurseries has not re-
sulted in significant improvements in seed-
ling quality and crop uniformity. Based on
the CONAFOR (2008) nursery evaluation,
some of the same issues found with the po-
lybag system still exist with the new con-
tainer system (Table 2). The primary prob-
lems with both systems concern inadequate
knowledge of biological production and
nursery operations and an understanding of
the relationship between the nursery and re-
forestation programs. In terms of biological
problems, the CONAFOR (2008) evalua-
tion found many nurseries are basing seed-
ling quality solely on height and diameter
while ignoring other indicators such as shoot
to root ratio and sturdiness coefficient. The
evaluation also found inadequate knowledge
in the areas of seedling nutrition and nursery
sanitation and the impacts on seedling in-
sects and diseases and irrigation practices.
Many nurseries substitute excessive shade
for proper irrigation schedules. In addition,
many nurseries are still producing just a lim-
ited number of species, typically from un-
known seed sources. This has a significant
impact on reforestation success because it
concerns genetic and species diversity as well
as matching proper seed sources and species
to a specific outplanting site. Outside the
bounds of the biological production, there
continue to be operational issues including
proper packaging of seedlings, seedling
transportation, payment schedules, seed
availability, equipment replacement and
maintenance, organizational planning, and
crop scheduling, which all can affect nursery
performance. For example, some nurseries
transport seedlings in their containers (e.g.,
styroblocks), which often are broken or re-
turned late, disrupting the next crop cycle if
sufficient containers are not available. Ex-
tracting seedlings and wrapping the root-
balls in plastic obviates this problem while
protecting the roots during transport, and
some nurseries are beginning to use this
technique. In addition, these nurseries are
using trailers with shelving to transport seed-
lings rather than the more common use of
pickup trucks. Frequently, delayed crop
scheduling results in seedlings held over for
an additional year. Modern container vol-
umes are typically smaller than that of poly-
bags (e.g., 10–24 in
versus 3060 in
which leaves little room for excess root
growth during holdover periods, resulting
in a higher likelihood of root-bound
In addition to the continued nursery
problems of both the polybag and container
systems, new issues have arisen under the
new container system. Growing media for
containers can be expensive, especially if
peat moss is a major component, but ongo-
ing research on pine bark, coffee residue, ba-
gasse coir, and sawdust may provide alterna-
tives to alleviate these costs. Research is
underway in Me´xico to demonstrate the fea-
sibility of peat alternatives (Reyes-Reyes et
al. 2005, Sa´nchez-Co´rdova et al. 2008, Mal-
donado-Benitez et al. 2011). Defining alter-
native media types can reduce costs and sup-
port new employment opportunities for
Figure 4. Distribution and type of nurseries in Me´xico (CONAFOR 2013).
Table 1. Type of nursery and production in 2013.
Nursery type No.
Seedling production
Temperate Tropical Total % Average size (no./yr)
........(million) ........
Conciliatory and collaborative
286 103 14 117 50 434,000
SEDENA 20 31 28 59 25 2,950,000
Public bid 18 38 0 38 17 2,235,000
CONAFOR 34 2 1 3 1 103,000
Holdover seedlings 8 8 16 7 NA
Total 358 182 51 233 100 653,000
Data from Rafael Alvarez Reyes, CONAFOR, pers. comm., August 2013. NA, not applicable.
Conciliatory and collaborative agreements are contracts between CONAFOR and private or community nurseries for a fixed
quantity of seedlings where the price is fixed and production practices are prescribed by CONAFOR.
408 Journal of Forestry July 2015
locally supplied growing media compo-
nents. In fact, a new enterprise in the state of
Durango is marketing pine bark to con-
tainer nurseries based on this research, but to
date, those nurseries have replaced only 40%
of the peat moss with pine bark (Salvador
Castro, San Luis Tlaxialtemalco Nursery,
México State Division of Forestry, Xochilm-
ilco, Distrito Federal, México, pers. comm.,
May 22, 2014). Fertilizers are another high-
cost issue with container systems. Slow-re-
lease fertilizers produced in Me´xico cost up
to 8 times as much as US-manufactured fer-
tilizers and many times more than commer-
cial agriculture fertilizers.
There are many gaps in knowledge and
technology associated with the container
system that continue to contribute to failure
to improve nursery and seedling perfor-
mance. Most nursery issues discovered by
the CONAFOR (2008) evaluation and
other sources can be addressed through
proper training and education of nursery
managers. CONAFOR has begun to fill
these knowledge gaps with annual, regional
training sessions throughout the country as
seen in 2013 and 2014. These short courses
covered activities such as irrigation schedul-
ing and uniformity, fertilization regimes
over the growth cycle of the crop, harvesting
and handling of seedlings, and pest manage-
ment. Further advances will require identi-
fication and tracking of seed sources to iden-
tify superior performance as well as setting
target seedling guidelines on field-based re-
sults. Although target specifications based
on other species is a good place to begin, site-
and species-specific recommendations based
on field trials are needed.
Reforestation Systems
Throughout the history of Me´xico’s re-
forestation efforts, limitations in reforesta-
tion success have been and continue to be
primarily due to both a lack of education
and poor economics. In the 1970s, the fed-
eral government hired consulting foresters
to assist ejidos in the management of their
forests (Merino-Pe´rez and Segura-Warn-
holtz 2005). Unfortunately, when the cost
was transferred to the communities, many
ejidos abandoned their forest management
programs including reforestation efforts.
Many of the ejidatarios are Amerindians
who rely on the communal land for subsis-
tence, primarily from grazing livestock and
agriculture. Many communities do not un-
derstand the critical role of forests at the lo-
cal level in the form of income and wood
products and thus are reluctant to plant
seedlings simply because of the cost of labor
(FAO 2003b). Seedlings cost about $0.18
each to produce, but are provided free
of charge to ejidos. Community trees are
planted by volunteers as part of community
service and communities are awarded $0.08
for each seedling surviving after 1 year (Sal-
vador Castro, pers. comm., May 22, 2014).
Unfortunately, seedlings often are subjected
to damage and/or mortality from fires set to
promote forage production for livestock,
grazing (trampling or consumption), or a
lack of weed control.
When programs converted from poly-
bags to modern containers, knowledge gaps
contributed to continued failures in seedling
establishment. The major causes of mortal-
ity (i.e., drought and seedling quality) are
remarkably similar to those of earlier surveys
when polybag seedlings predominated
(Figure 5). In the 1998 planting season,
seedling survival was 44% and most of the
mortality was the result of poor seedling
quality and drought (Bello Lara and Cibria´n
Tovar 2000). There was no change from
2000 to 2011 during which survival aver-
aged only 48% with causes of mortality sim-
ilar to those in earlier reports (Universidad
Autono´ma Chapingo-CONAFOR 2012,
Rafael Alvarez Reyes, CONAFOR, pers.
comm., May 2013). No explanation for
“drought” was given in any of these reports.
It may be that the causal drought was in fact
imposed before the seedlings were actually
planted. Mexal et al. (2009) visited sites re-
peatedly, including shortly after establish-
ment, to determine causes of mortality.
Seedling and planting quality were signifi-
cant factors in loss, but drought was not.
Table 2. Results of the nursery evaluation.
Concept Situation Recommendations
Seed sources Many (33%) do not know seed source Encourage the establishment of forest seed production units; seed banks;
research on seed storage
Sanitation 5–20% of seedlings infested with diseases and insects Training in management of pests and use of pesticides
Nutrition Most lack knowledge efficient nutrition Training in nutrition management
Species Majority of production consists of four species of pine
and two tropical hardwoods
Use greater diversity of species
Production capacity and
54% of container nurseries require replacement
Produce plants for specific objectives; focus on more efficient nurseries; find
resources to purchase container systems; assign additional resources to
manufacture trays (SEDENA)
Infrastructure pH of 85% of nurseries is moderately high to high; 65%
had a pH 6.0 to 8.5
Replace containers; implement improvements in irrigation practices
Seedling quality 68% of nurseries use only two criteria: height and
Use other indicators of quality: sturdiness coefficient; shoot/root dry mass ratio
Lifting and transportation 32.8% of seedlings are lost in this stage of operation Improve operations; standardize type of packaging; improve seedling price
contracts and agreements with packaging payment; deliver leaflets to
recipients on seedling care and planting; provide mandatory packaging
workshops for nursery managers
Administration 62% of nurseries have no organizational plan and most
have limited experience in planning
Establish mechanisms to improve process control; utilize outside companies as
Economic aspects Excess bureaucracy (53%); bonding requirement (30%);
uncertainty in assignment and continuity of contracts
Reduce state governments triangulation; provide timely payments to ensure
resources are scheduled in time
Training Deficiencies in different areas Promote regional and statewide workshops to exchange experiences;
development of production manuals; certify nursery managers; organize
state and regional meetings and at least one national meeting
Data from CONAFOR (2008).
Journal of Forestry July 2015 409
However, the definition of drought may
broadly refer to the following
Desiccation of the root plug during
handling and transportation.
Desiccation of the root plug at the re-
forestation site before planting.
Delayed planting during the rainy
season, which limits root egress and estab-
Planting outside the rainy season into
dry soil.
Seasonal, episodic drought during the
rainy season.
A missing thread is the education of
local communities and foresters to better
understand seedling quality and proper
planning for reforestation programs. This
includes preventing seedlings from desicca-
tion before planting, matching the planting
season to the monsoonal rains (Figure 6)
when soil moisture is highest, and defining a
“target seedling” to match site conditions for
There has been little work on container
seedling quality of Mexican species based on
field performance trials (e.g., Sa´enz Reyes et
al. 2012); most recommendations are based
on trials in other countries (South and
Mexal 1984, Mexal and Landis 1990,
Birchler et al. 1998, Cibria´n Tovar and Bello
Lara 2000, Dominguez-Lerena et al. 2003).
One of the first steps in defining seedling
quality is to identify the parameters of a con-
tainerized seedling that contribute to high
survival and growth for specific site condi-
tions (i.e., identify the target). This target
seedling must possess morphological, phys-
iological, and chemical attributes that are as-
sociated with superior field performance
(Colombo et al. 2001). Perhaps the best def-
inition of a target seedling is “fitness for pur-
pose” (Wille´n and Sutton 1980).
Recent work has gathered data on mor-
phological attributes (height, diameter, and
sturdiness) and chemical attributes (nutri-
ents) of containerized seedlings in Me´xico
(Ortega et al. 2006, Prieto Ruiz and Sa´enz
Reyes 2011) (Table 3). However, there has
been little work on the physiological quality
of seedlings or work matching quality pa-
rameters with the performance attributes,
survival, and growth (e.g., Mexal et al. 2002,
If CONAFOR is to achieve President
Pen˜a Nieto’s goal of 60–70% survival (Pen˜a
Nieto 2013) for reforestation activities by
2018, it is critical for all individuals involved
to have a better understanding of seedling
quality, climate, and logistics. Furthermore,
the various entities should coordinate activ-
ities concerning seed source selection, nurs-
ery production, and forest productivity. Ed-
ucation is the possible solution to many of
the observable problems in both the nursery
for producing quality target seedlings and
with reforestation efforts. Providing work-
shops and training opportunities for those
communities that would be involved in
planting is a first step in communicating
proper planting practices, including seedling
handling, planting techniques, aftercare,
and protection. The details of these educa-
tion programs could also include posters and
illustrated guides, especially if language is a
concern (either illiteracy or indigenous lan-
Future Directions
Forests will continue to play an impor-
tant role in the livelihood of rural commu-
nities in Me´xico as many ejidatarios prefer to
live and work in their local community.
The CFEs managed by the ejidatarios are
a unique global model and unlikely to
change in Me´xico. Consequently, greater in-
volvement at the community level and lead-
ership/administration at the state and fed-
eral levels are needed, not only to mitigate
forest degradation but also to enhance pro-
ductivity and economic viability of the
forest. Productive forests may continue to
Figure 5. Causes of low survival in reforestation programs with 70% polybag production (A)
and 30% polybag production (B) (Bello Lara and Cibria´n Tovar 2000, Alvarez Reyes 2013).
Figure 6. Identification of the outplanting window (after South and Mexal (1984) with
survival data (as a percentage of maximum) by stocktype (Carrillo Anzures 1986) and site
(Mas Porras, Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones Forestales Agrı´colas y Pecuarias
[INIFAP], Morelia, Michoaca´n, Me´xico, pers. comm., August 1993).
410 Journal of Forestry July 2015
provide employment, which could reduce
emigration from rural communities (Bray
2005). Whereas these CFEs may be viewed
as “a uniquely Mexican contribution to the
global economy,” they can also be viewed as
a cause of deforestation and greenhouse gas
emissions, especially in tropical forests
(Cairns et al. 2000). Unfortunately, because
timber harvests from CFEs have declined in
the last 30 years, other beneficial uses of for-
ests could also be depleted without improve-
ments in management. The success of CFEs
will probably depend on an integration of
wood products, NWFPs, and environmen-
tal services (e.g., carbon credits). However,
this will require a level of management that
is underpinned by a successful reforestation
program, currently not in evidence in many
Consolidation of nurseries and im-
provements in technology, training, and
continuing education of both nursery per-
sonnel and local reforestation managers are
needed to ensure sustainable forest systems.
Vester and Navarro-Martínez (2005) re-
ferred to “costly treeplanting” as a negative
component of tropical forest management.
However, to not aggressively reforest and re-
store forestlands to productive end uses for
future generations could also be considered
“costly.” Seed banks (Miller 1999) and seed
rain (Martinez-Garza and Gonzalez-Mon-
tagut 1999) are likely to contain neither the
number of species nor the particular species
in undisturbed forests. Probably ejidatarios
viewed themselves as farmers rather than
foresters, and the forests were simply consid-
ered an exploitable resource. Communities
that viewed forestry as an integral compo-
nent of their lifestyle were more aggressive
about treeplanting and forest management,
even in situations where the members did
not have title to the land (Simmons et al.
2002). Reforestation benefits not only fu-
ture commensurable values of the forests but
also noncommensurable values, including
environmental services. SEMARNAT held
the first National Reforestation Congress in
2000 and should be encouraged to initiate
both national and regional conferences to
strengthen the link between nursery produc-
tion and treeplanting communities. Refores-
tation efforts are critical components of suc-
cessful forest management leading not only
to ecological services including carbon se-
questration, watershed protection, and bio-
diversity but also sustainable futures for in-
digenous communities and balance of trade
within NAFTA (Masera 1995).
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... Sometimes, field established seedlings show low survival and growth in subsequent years (Vargas & Vanegas, 2012). Postplanting stress of seedlings and low water availability are factors limiting success (Burney et al., 2015). In the ejido Carbonero Jacales located in the municipality of Huayacocotla, Veracruz, it has been observed that natural regeneration of Pinus patula Schltdl. ...
... En algunas ocasiones, las plantas establecidas en campo presentan supervivencia y crecimiento bajos en los años siguientes (Vargas & Vanegas, 2012). El estrés posplantación de los brinzales y la baja disponibilidad de agua son factores que limitan el éxito (Burney et al., 2015). En el ejido Carbonero Jacales ubicado en el municipio de Huayacocotla, estado de Veracruz, se ha observado que la regeneración natural de Pinus patula Schltdl. ...
... In the case of natural regeneration, there is a selection process in the establishment stage, since, after germination, seedlings are exposed to various biotic and abiotic threats that limit their survival, causing only a few individuals to succeed. Moreover, competition for resources with herbaceous and shrub vegetation is high in the first years of natural regeneration ( The better performance of natural regeneration can also be explained by the fact that it was established directly on the ground and, therefore, there is no post-planting stress stage, as is the case with seedlings produced in nursery and transplanted to the ground (Burney et al., 2015). ...
Full-text available
Introduction: Regeneration of forest stands under management is one of the most relevant silvicultural practices for forest cultivation. Objective: To compare growth and water balance for both naturally regenerated and planted seedlings in Pinus patula Schltdl. &Cham. stands harvested with the seed tree method in the ejido Carbonero Jacales, Huayacocotla, Veracruz. Materials and methods: Four sites per stand with natural regeneration and planted seedlings were selected for paired comparison. Origin and age of seedlings were recorded at each site, water potential was measured throughout the day during the dry season in 2019, also annual height and diameter growth at the base of the stem during the period 2018-2019. Results: Naturally regenerated seedlings had significantly (P ≤ 0.01) higher annual height growth (73.8 ± 12.29 cm) compared to planted seedlings (60.8 ± 12.39 cm); the same was for diameter at stem base (20.52 ± 3.51 vs. 14.76 ± 3.54 mm). Natural regeneration also showed significantly higher (P ≤ 0.05) diurnal water deficit recovery capacity (-0.90 MPa) compared to planted seedlings (-1.06 MPa). Conclusion:P. patula naturally regenerated seedlings had better annual growth and better physiological performance in root, which allowed a faster recovery to diurnal water deficit in foliage.
... Conversion to a modern container system requires sustained technical support, education, assistance, and encouragement. In Mexico, it was found that 70% of seedlings were still being grown in polybags despite efforts a decade earlier to modernize nurseries [71]. Many of these nurseries had significant problems with infrastructure, labor, growing media, and training. ...
... Many of these nurseries had significant problems with infrastructure, labor, growing media, and training. After another decade, approximately 75% or more of seedlings were being grown in modern containerized systems but seedling quality and crop uniformity were often unsatisfactory due to inadequate knowledge of seedling biology, species diversity, and nursery cultural practices necessary to grow high-quality seedlings [71]. Similarly, a national policy to regulate seedling quality in the Philippines was ineffective due to many factors including limited resources and lack of knowledge [72]. ...
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An important strategy for meeting global landscape restoration goals is nursery production of high-quality seedlings. Growing seedlings with attributes that promote post-planting survival and growth can be dramatically influenced by the nursery container system. In many countries, nurseries produce seedlings in polybags filled with excavated soil. These seedlings often develop deformed roots with limited fibrosity which can lead to poor survival and growth after outplanting. Polybags are initially inexpensive but using these single-use plastic containers accrues expenses that are often untracked. Comparisons among nursery production systems must account for factors such as container longevity, labor efficiency, and seedling field performance. A more holistic approach to account for environmental, economic , social, logistic, and cultural elements in the cost-benefit equation that influences nursery production systems is needed. Converting to a modern container system requires concomitant adjustments in nursery scheduling and culturing matched to the new stock type. Doing so provides an opportunity to align nursery production techniques and resulting seedling attributes with anticipated field conditions. This article describes and discusses the advantages and disadvantages of nursery production systems and provides recommendations and case studies to aid nurseries in improving seedling quality toward meeting restoration goals in a cost-effective and timely manner.
... Finally, a number of cross-cutting tools that often support programmatic interventions were not discussed in this chapter, but are relevant to the success of many levers. For example, new and enhanced technologies including equipment upgrades, mechanisation and improved germplasm can be important components of SMFEs, CFM, reforestation and agroforestry (Burney et al., 2015;Haase and Davis, 2017; 2019 see also Chapter 6, Box 6.2). Financial capital, in the form of credit, aid or subsidies, can be essential in implementing many of the reviewed levers Humphries et al., 2012;Sanchez Badini et al., 2018). ...
Addressing poverty is an urgent global priority. Many of the world's poor and vulnerable people live in or near forests and rely on trees and other natural resources to support their livelihoods. Effectively tackling poverty and making progress toward the first of the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals to “end poverty in all its forms everywhere” must therefore consider forests and trees. But what do we know about the potential for forests and tree-based systems to contribute to poverty alleviation? This Special Issue responds to this question. It synthesises and presents available scientific evidence on the role of forests and tree-based systems in alleviating and, ultimately, eradicating poverty. The articles compiled here also develop new conceptual frameworks, identify research frontiers, and draw out specific recommendations for policy. The scope is global, although emphasis is placed on low- and middle-income countries where the majority of the world's poorest people live. This introductory article stakes out the conceptual, empirical and policy terrain relating to forests, trees and poverty and provides an overview of the contribution of the other seven articles in this collection. This Special Issue has direct implications for researchers, policymakers and other decision-makers related to the role of forests and tree-based systems in poverty alleviation. The included articles frame the relationships between forests, trees and poverty, identify research gaps and synthesize evidence to inform policy.
... Production of forest seedlings takes one to three years depending on their type and their required height (Snorrason, 2020). Several factors can have a negative impact on seedling quality and reforestation success: improper species selection (Burney & Jacobs, 2018;Nunes et al., 2020), poor production planning, inadequate infrastructure (Burney et al., 2015), as well as faulty logistics between nurseries and reforestation sites (Fargione et al., 2021;Gregorio et al., 2017). ...
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The growing importance of sustainable forest management has led to increased interest in reforestation. A better understanding of the processes in the reforestation value chain and the development of means to improve planning could help forest managers reach their sustainability goals. The aim of this study is to propose a formal reforestation value chain framework including both the material flow and planning processes at strategic, tactical, and operational levels. To do so, a hermeneutic literature review was first carried out to identify existing frameworks in the reforestation value chain and seedling production. A second hermeneutic literature review was conducted, focussing on existing operations research-oriented models in reforestation value chain and then the review was expanded to similar industries aiming to find the models could be implemented and optimized reforestation value chains. Since only a few models were found, the search was extended to industries with similar characteristics to find models that could be relevant. The review revealed significant research gaps that were highlighted for future studies. A formal reforestation value chain framework was then proposed, based on these findings. The proposed framework provides a clearer view of the processes in reforestation, and modeling opportunities to optimize these processes for forest managers, stakeholders, as well as researchers.
... For example, restoration/reforestation actions must privilege the use of appropriated seed sources, which impacts on immediate success and long-term viability of plantings (Boshier et al., 2015). These two aspects prevail as important issues in Mexico's reforestation programs since nurseries produce a limited number of species, typically from unknown seed sources (Burney et al., 2015). The relevance of seed sources or provenances regarding seedling performance under different ecological conditions, particularly in harsh environments, is widely recognized (Boshier et al., 2015;Carevic et al., 2017). ...
... Despite the fact that the potentially negative effects of removing the forest floor and mineral surface soil from natural and/or conserving ecosystems has been widely studied (Espejel-Rodríguez et al. 1999), its extraction is a common and legally supported practice in Mexico (NOM-027-SEMARNAT-1996). The tierra de hoja (forest floor) and surface mineral soil (tierra de monte) represent the main volume of non-wood forest products in Mexico (Burney et al. 2015;Tapia-Tapia and Reyes-Chilpa 2008), and their use and commercialization is a source of income for forest communities. Moreover, there is an increasing demand for this natural resource, mainly due to the expansion of greenhouse ornamental and flower production in Mexico (Merlín-Uribe et al. 2012). ...
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PurposeThe overexploitation of the O horizon, or the litter layer of the soil profile, in the production of ornamental plants, causes the disintegration of the landscape and the loss of soil productivity in preserved areas, which calls for new approaches to address the need for substrates in soilless culture systems. Thus, this study examined the construction of purpose-designed Technosols from construction waste as substrates in the production of ornamental plants.Methods The evaluated treatments were as follows: (CCW) 40% concrete waste, 30% compost, 30% wood chips; (ECW) 40% excavation waste, 30% compost, 30% wood chips; and (AOW) 40% compost, 60% wood chips. A control treatment (CTL) was composed of 50% compost and 50% natural exported soil. The plant species used were Heliotropium arborescens, Lobularia maritima, and Lavandula angustifolia, which were grown for one cycle in an 8-week greenhouse experiment. The pH, electrical conductivity (EC), carbon and nutrient (N, P, and exchangeable cations) contents, and water availability of the Technosols and control treatment, as well as the survival rate, presence of flowers, number of flowers per plant and shoot diameter of the ornamental plants, were evaluated over the experimental period.ResultsAll treatments had slightly alkaline pH, yet their EC decreased to the levels recommended for growing media considering the evaluated species. The AOW presented the highest initial contents of total C, total N, and available P, and the highest concentration of DOC at the end of the experiment, followed by the CCW Technosol. There were no differences within treatments regarding their initial and final available P contents, and the final available P and mineral N contents in Technosols and control did not differ, thus showing their ability to supply both N and P adequately to plants. A high plant survival rate was observed throughout the experimental period, and the frequency of blooming plants increased for all species regardless of the treatment.Conclusions The Technosols produced from construction and excavation waste had been shown to provide favorable chemical, physical, and physicochemical conditions for the vegetative development and blooming of ornamental plants with different fertilization requirements and, thus, could be used as alternative to reduce the exploitation of exported natural soils. The plants used in the study had different nutritional requirements, yet they all grew adequately. The Technosol made from concrete waste had the most promising outcome in terms of C and available nutrients (N, P and exchangeable cations) as well as water retention and availability to plants compared to the excavation-based Technosol, besides having comparable results with the control treatment that is commonly used by the producers to grow ornamental and flower plants. Considering that no mineral fertilization was used in this study, further research may assess the use of a controlled fertilization schedule in order to reduce and optimize the use of agrochemical inputs, from small to large-scale growers of flower plants.
An extensive set of policies, programmes, technologies and strategies have been implemented in the forest sector. Collectively, these 'levers' cover a diverse range of approaches, at a variety of scales and are governed by many different stakeholders. It is important for decision-makers to understand which levers might be most useful in achieving poverty alleviation. This paper seeks to answer the question: which forest management policies, programmes, technologies and strategies have been effective at alleviating poverty? We studied 21 different rights-based, regulatory, market and supply chain, and forest and tree management levers for which we could identify a plausible theory of change of how implementation of that lever might alleviate poverty. For every lever we: define and describe the lever; describe the logic or theory of change by which the lever might plausibly be expected to alleviate poverty; summarize the available evidence showing how the lever has alleviated poverty; and discuss the variables that explain heterogeneity in outcomes. Overall, we found limited evidence of these levers being associated with reducing poverty (i.e. moving people out of poverty). Some of the strongest evidence for poverty reduction came from ecotourism, community forest management, agroforestry and, to a lesser extent, payments for ecosystem services (PES). However, we found substantial, varied and context-dependent evidence of several levers being associated with mitigating poverty (i.e. by improving well-being). A multitude of cases showing positive outcomes for poverty mitigation came from community forest management, forest producer organisations, small and medium forest enterprises, PES, and tree crop contract production. A combination of more rigorous and long-term research designs, along with examinations of the cost-effectiveness of different levers, would go a long way to contributing to the design of effective interventions for poverty alleviation.
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Esta investigación tuvo como objetivo evaluar el efecto de diferentes variables ambientales y físicas sobre la supervivencia de las siete especies más usadas para la reforestación en el Estado de México, durante el periodo 1997-2003. La evaluación se realizó a través de un muestreo de dos etapas de 757 plantaciones. En la primera, se seleccionaron aleatoriamente las plantaciones bajo un diseño completamente al azar. La segunda fase consistió en levantar sitios de muestreo de 100 m2 elegidos de manera sistemática en cada una de las plantaciones seleccionadas, con una intensidad de muestreo de 5 % del área plantada. En los sitios se evaluó la supervivencia y un conjunto de variables de sitio. El análisis se realizó mediante un modelo Probit, en el cual se probaron todas las combinaciones de diferentes subconjuntos de variables de sitio y climáticas como variables de control. Los resultados mostraron que las plantaciones tienen una baja supervivencia (38 %), atribuible a la poca protección de las plantaciones, la rápida conversión a terreno agropecuario, así como a la desvinculación entre los requerimientos de cada especie y las características de los sitios de plantación. Se analiza y discute el efecto de las variables evaluadas por especie y se proporcionan recomendaciones de registro de información para las plantaciones.
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En un vivero forestal, a la planta se le brindan los cuidados e insumos necesarios para favorecer su calidad; con la finalidad de que tenga mejores oportunidades durante su desarrollo inicial. El objetivo del presente estudio fue evaluar la supervivencia y crecimiento en diámetro y altura de Pinus engelmannii en una reforestación, con base en la incorporación de inoculantes micorrícicos comerciales en la etapa de preacondicionamiento en vivero, y de fertilizante de lenta liberación al momento de plantar. Se evaluaron seis tratamientos: inoculante endomicorrícico con esporas de Glomus, inoculante ectomicorrícico con esporas de Amanita rubescens, Amanita sp., Lactarius indigo, Ramaria sp. y Boletus sp., e inoculante ectomicorrícico con esporas de Pisolithus tinctorius y Scleroderma citrinum, combinado con y sin fertilizante granulado Multicote 8® de lenta liberación (8-9 meses) (11 N-28 P2O5-11 K2O+ micronutrimentos). Las variables respuesta registradas fueron: supervivencia y causa de mortalidad, diámetro del tallo y altura. Los resultados indicaron que la supervivencia disminuyó paulatinamente, y a los 12 meses varió de 57 a 83 % entre tratamientos. En las variables diámetro y altura existieron diferencias significativas de los tres a los 12 meses. Los tratamientos con inoculante ectomicorrícico sin fertilización tuvieron mayor supervivencia, mientras que los tratamientos con inoculante y fertilizante mostraron mayor incremento en diámetro y altura. Se concluye que la inoculación controlada repercutió en la supervivencia, y la fertilización tuvo efecto sobre el crecimiento en campo de P. engelmannii.
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Nursery cultural practices are aimed both to enhance seedling quality and to increase survival of reforestations, however the effects of severalcultural practices should be examined for each species in order to define their feasibility of implementation. This study analyses the effects of top pruning on the morphological quality of Caesalpinea coriariaseedlings to determine its potential as a cultural practice. In greenhouse conditions, three level of top pruning were evaluated: 0 %, 25 % and50 %. The effects of pruning were examined on six-month old seedling by measuring somemorphological attributes and quality indexes such as: shoot height, stem diameter, shoot, root, and total dry weight, shoot-to-root ratio, slenderness index, and Dickson quality index. There was not a significant effect of pruning, except on the shoot height and the slenderness index (p<0.05). The greatest values of 37.08 cm for shoot height and 12.81 of slenderness index belonged to no-pruned seedlings, while the lowest values were found for the pruned-seedlings at 25 % (29.06 cm and 10.75 for shoot height and slenderness index, respectively). Based on theseresults,it is concluded that top pruning does not enhance the morphological quality of plants of C. coriaria;therefore,it isnot recommended as a cultural practice to produce plants of C. coriariain nursery.
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In this chapter, the experiences of communities living in the Sierra Juárez, also known as the Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, and in particular communities that organized themselves into the Unión de Comunidades Zapoteco-Chinanteca (UZACHI), will be examined. This organization consists of three Zapotec communities and one Chinantec community. Each one of these is autonomous and has its own internal governance mechanisms. Together, they created UZACHI to be a regional body, a union, to support the management of their forests and to face common problems collectively. This is an opportune time to carry out an evaluation of UZACHI, which was established 10 years ago. Such an evaluation can help identify lessons that can be applied to the design of future institutional arrangements that support sustainable natural resource management and rural development policies. The history of UZACHI will be placed in the context of the larger struggle of Oaxacan indigenous peoples to regain control of their land and their resources after the Spanish Conquest. The concepts of natural and social capital will also be employed to help illuminate some contemporary dimensions of UZACHI's success in community forest management. The Mexican state of Oaxaca is located in a region with great natural endowments favoring the development of community forestry. It is located in southern Mexico, where mountain chains running from the coast of the Gulf of Mexico converge with those from the Pacific Ocean. The confluence of these two mountain systems resulted in an abrupt topography, producing a range of climatic variations and microclimates. The geology in this part of Mexico is very complex, and consequently is home to a very wide range of soil types. One can find within Oaxaca practically all the main ecosystems and vegetation assemblages found in Mexico. In fact, the list of plants and animals in Oaxaca is the most extensive in Mexico, famed for its high level of biodiversity.
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Forest nursery production in containers in México mainly uses peat moss, vermiculite and agrolite (standard mixture). Sawdust and pine bark are subproducts of the forest industry which can be used as substrates. The objective of this work was the characterization of five mixtures using pine bark, sawdust, peat moss, vermiculite. Evaluation included physical (bulk density, total porosity, air porosity and easily available water) and chemical (pH, electrical conductivity and cation exchange capacity) characterization. Bulk density varied from 0,31 to 0,51 g m-3 while the standard mixture was 0,15 g m-3. Total porosity varied from 77 to 91% compared to the standard mixture with 84%. Air porosity varied from 8 to 20% compared to the standard mixture with 8%. Easily available water varied from 4,8 to 9,9% compared to the standard mixture with 17,7%. pH of the mixtures with bark and sawdust varied from 4,52 to 7,70 while the standard mixture was 3,87. Electrical conductivity varied from 1,84 to 2,69 ds m-1 while the standard mixture was 1,13 ds m-1. Cation exchange capacity varied from 43,6 to 89,4 meq/100 g while the standard mixture was 60,4 meq/100 g. Physical properties of mixture 4 (20% of bark + 80% of sawdust) are similar to standard mixture, but not the chemical properties. This mixture is a promising substrate for forest nursery production.
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There are timber industrial byproducts useful such as substrates or conditioners useful to improve water availability for nursery plants. In order to contribute to their utilization we assessed the effect of a synthetic polymer (hydrogel) in alternative substrate mixtures under four irrigation levels for the production of Pinus greggii Engelm., in nursery. The experimental design was a split plot with an additional treatment, and 10 substrate mixtures composed of sawdust, pine bark, peat, agrolite, and vermiculite were tested. Five months after applying irrigation levels, the plants developed in 20 % of bark + 80 % of sawdust and 4 g L-1 of hydrogel, showed the highest increment (p≤0.05) for the variables height (21.8 cm) and diameter (3 mm). In the treatments without humidity restriction growth rates were greater (p≤0.05) in height (32.8 cm), root collar diameter (3.3 mm) and shoot/root ratio (2.13). However, under stress condition increments of height (15.64 cm), root collar diameter (2.56 mm), and shoot/root ratio(1.8) were not significant. The treatments with high doses of hydrogel are successful as growth medium, having values close to the control.
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As the chapters in this book have made clear, the Mexican community forest sector has made historic strides since the 1970s. Until then, almost all Mexican forest communities that produced timber were considered to be rentistas-communities simply "rented" their forests to outside loggers, whether contractors or concessionaires. The term rentista referred to (1) communities that did not participate in any way in the extraction process, commonly not even as loggers, since the outside companies would bring their own crews; and (2) communities that received only an administratively set derecho de monte, or stumpage fee, which was below the market value of the timber sold on the stump. Beginning in the 1970s, large numbers of CFEs began to emerge, and the era of the concessions came to a close in the 1980s. Almost all forest communities were allowed to sell their timber and receive the full market price, not a government-set stumpage fee. In this sense, the traditional "stumpage fee" rentista communities no longer existed. Nonetheless, the term rentista is still used today to refer to communities that sell their timber on the stump for (in theory) full market value, even if they do not participate in the extraction process or form a formal CFE to do so. However, since classical exploitative rentismo is a historical stage that has been superseded in many areas of Mexico, it is here proposed that these modern communities be referred to as simply "stumpage communities." Historical forms of rentismo may still exist in pockets in states such as Chihuahua and Guerrero, although even here we should perhaps use the term neo-rentismo, since they normally do not suffer the worst forms of exploitation of the past. The continued presence of neo-rentismo shows that despite historic achievements, there are still many and profound problems in the community forest enterprise sector. Many smaller CFEs continue to struggle with problems of isolation, corruption, lack of capital and technical assistance, and illegal exploitation by outsiders. Many communities are still engaged in intense and violent struggles to gain effective control of their common property forest resources. In 1996, 13 ejidatarios of the San Alonso ejido in Chihuahua, with the support of a Chihuahuan forest and human rights NGO, filed suit against the International Paper Company for cutting unmarked pine outside of the logging area and for logging a listed species. The suit was settled in favor of the ejidatarios, which led to the suspension of the logging permit, the suspension for one year of the license of the forestry engineer, and a fine of 205, 000 pesos against the ejido authorities, although later protests and negotiations on the part of other members of the ejido apparently diluted the impact somewhat. Other ejidos have led protests against clandestine logging on their lands, but with little response from government authorities. PROFEPA, the environmental attorney general, has investigated 411 claims of forest violations from 1996 to 2000 in Chihuahua, but there are no comparative numbers from other states to judge whether this is high or not. Exploitative logging by outsiders continues to be widespread in states like Chihuahua and Guerrero, with frequent corruption of ejido authorities (Guerrero et al. 2000). The community of San Juan Tierra Negra in southern Oaxaca is another documented example of the kind of abusive exploitation of forest resources which continues in poorly organized communities (Merino-Pérez 1997). At the same time, however, after an initial year of considerable confusion around the forest policies of the Vicente Fox administration, a clearer and highly promising policy picture has begun to emerge, as Merino-Pérez discusses in Chapter 3 of this book. The first director of the National Forest Commission (Comisión Nacional Forestal; CONAFOR) was a former governor of Jalisco and said to be an intimate of President Fox. As such, he was the highest-ranking political figure to occupy the top forestry policy position since Cuauhtémoc Cárdenas in the late 1970s. This director, Alberto Cárdenas, subsequently became Secretary of the Environment and Natural Resources (Secretaría de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales; SEMARNAT) in September 2004. The significance of this is showing up in the budgets for forestry programs. The Forest Development Program (Programa de Desarrollo Forestal; PRODEFOR), which subsidizes forest management activities in community forests, and the Program for the Development of Forest Plantations (Programa para Desarollo de Plantaciones Forestales; PRODEPLAN), which supports both industrial and community plantations, have been significantly expanded in resources and broadened in scope (see Merino-Pérez and Segura-Warnholtz, this volume). According to official government figures, the annual resources for PRODEFOR are now larger than those of both programs in the total of the previous four years, with a budget of 276 million pesos (about US$27.6 million) for 2002, with an additional 30% coming from the states. But in addition to the substantially expanded resources, the possible investment projects have been greatly expanded. Whereas PRODEFOR was mostly limited to financing management plans, projects can now be presented for a wide range of forest production and diversification activities. Now, training, silvicultural treatments, certification, technical studies for harvesting of NTFPs, ecosystem services projects, and ecotourism projects can all qualify for funds, with amounts in the range of US$50 to US$100, 000 available for ecotourism and logging road projects. At the same time, the Program for Forest Conservation and Management (Programa para la Conservación y Manejo Forestal; PROCYMAF), a World Bank/government of Mexico program to promote and strengthen community forest management, is being expanded to include 10 states over the next several years. PROCYMAF, in association with PRODEFOR, is the first Mexican government program since the 1970s that has made a concerted effort to promote community forest management and the formation of CFEs in Mexico, with Oaxaca being the primary focus of its work through 2002. In the 1998-2000 period, PROCYMAF in Oaxaca was able to incorporate 32 new communities into community logging activities, a notable achievement for such a short period (PROCYMAF 2000). The existence of the PRODEFOR and PROCYMAF programs since 1997, and their current rather dramatic expansion, is the most decided public policy support for CFEs in Mexico since the late 1970s and early 1980s. This opportunity needs to be seized by forest advisors, communities, and NGOs to use the new government and multilateral resources that ensure that community forest management (CFM) remains as a permanent part of forest policies in Mexico. Deeply entrenched suspicions of government action need to be overcome to recognize this historic opportunity. But as new and more favorable public policies are consolidated, the question of how many more new CFEs can be promoted in Mexico becomes urgent. Very little is known about the periods of formation of CFEs in Mexico, that is, how many CFEs were formed in what years or historical periods. Survey information from Oaxaca confirms the general impression that most existing CFEs were probably legally formed by the end of the 1980s. For 15 sawmill communities in Oaxaca, the average founding date was 1984, and the average date for roundwood communities is 1988. Only the stumpage communities on average legally organized themselves more recently, with an average date of 1994 (Antinori 2000). But other CFEs continued to be established in the 1990s, for example, the CFE San José Zaragoza in the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, established in 1994. How many more new CFEs have been established in the 1990s? PROCYMAF staff suggests that nearly all communities with logging permits in Oaxaca now have their own logging team headed by a trained jefe de monte, which would mean that the period of neo-rentismo has ended in Oaxaca, an important historical achievement which has been insufficiently recognized (Juan Manuel Barrera, personal communication, 2002). In the numerous other forestry states, how many more new CFEs can be created? Was the promotion of forest communities themselves "high- graded" during the community forestry "boom" years of the 1970s and 1980s? Did government agencies and NGOs identify and create most of the CFEs that can be created? The experience of PROCYMAF in its first three years of operation in Oaxaca is illustrative. As mentioned above, it was able to start CFEs in 32 new communities for a collective forest estate of 75, 593 hectares, with an average of 2, 362 hectares each. This is relatively small forest estate. Although there are examples of successful CFEs mounted on even smaller forest estates, it still suggests the potential for new CFE creation is concentrated in the small communities, and that few, if any, large forest communities do not have CFEs. The new ones that are incorporating now are the ones with very marginal forests, and the marginal costs of incorporating new communities will be high. PROCYMAF has identified three major problems associated with trying to extend the CFE model into additional Mexican forest communities. (1) Communities lack leadership or have severe internal conflicts that prevent them from responding. (2) In the Mixteca region of Oaxaca, in particular, there has been widespread parcelization of the forest resulting in a "covert privatization" of the forest (although this is not necessarily a barrier to mounting a CFE).
Mexico leads the world in community management of forests for the commercial production of timber. Yet this success story is not widely known, even in Mexico, despite the fact that communities around the globe are increasingly involved in managing their own forest resources. To assess the achievements and shortcomings of Mexico's community forest management programs and to offer approaches that can be applied in other parts of the world, this book collects fourteen articles that explore community forest management from historical, policy, economic, ecological, sociological, and political perspectives. The contributors to this book are established researchers in the field, as well as many of the important actors in Mexico's nongovernmental organization sector. Some articles are case studies of community forest management programs in the states of Michoacán, Oaxaca, Durango, Quintana Roo, and Guerrero. Others provide broader historical and contemporary overviews of various aspects of community forest management. As a whole, this volume clearly establishes that the community forest sector in Mexico is large, diverse, and has achieved unusual maturity in doing what communities in the rest of the world are only beginning to explore: how to balance community income with forest conservation. In this process, Mexican communities are also managing for sustainable landscapes and livelihoods.
Over the past century, forest use in Mexico has been subject to almost continual debate. Both state and federal governments have frequently intervened in the sector, to a much greater degree than in other areas of rural life. These interventions have included direct government participation in logging, the control and concession of resource user rights, regulatory action, and conservation strategies, among others. This paper's main objective is to analyze the forest policies implemented by various Mexican governments over the second half of the twentieth century and to comment on their impact. The general areas tackled by this research are as follows: • The debate regarding forest resources and the main issues that have informed political action and policy making • The ways in which government institutions have intervened in the forestry sector, including industry, silvicultural practices, and forest communities • The form and levels of control that the state has placed on forests and, in contrast, the margin of control that communities have maintained over their forests • The impact of public policies and the responses developed by communities Even though specific analysis of the different forest laws that existed during the twentieth century does not form part of this research, reference will be made to these laws for each of the periods examined. We will examine state policy using the four analytical themes mentioned above, and place it in the context of the political and economic conditions of the different historical periods. After discussing the pre-1940 historical background, we will focus on the following periods. The proposed time periods are only suggestive; the processes overlap in time in complex ways and in different regions of the country. • Concessions to private companies and forest bans (1940-1972) • Concessions to state-owned companies (1972-1982) • The rise of community forest enterprises (CFEs) (1982-1992) • Economic globalization and policy uncertainty (1992-2002) • Development of innovative forest policies in the context of political transition (2003-present).
This book examines the historical and contemporary experience of community forest management in Mexico from a variety of perspectives.1 As this volume makes clear, the community forest sector in Mexico is large, diverse, and has achieved unusual maturity doing what communities in the rest of the world are only beginning to explore: the commercial production of timber. In most of the world, community forest management refers to the management of recovering forestlands or non-timber forest products on government lands. The achievement of Mexican communities in the commercial production of timber from common property forests was largely accomplished over the last 30 years, but has roots deep in Mexico's twentieth-century history. Despite these achievements, the community forest sector in Mexico is still little known outside of Mexico, and insufficiently recognized even within Mexico. It also has many challenges and deficiencies. This volume joins other recent research efforts to begin to address this lack of recognition for an important global model (Bray et al. 2003) and to document and analyze both its achievements and shortcomings. We have here collected a series of articles by established researchers in the field, some presenting new data from research commissioned especially for this book, that examines the phenomenon from historical, policy, economic, ecological, sociological, and political perspectives, frequently in ways that integrate these disciplines. The book also contains accounts by some of the important practitioners from the Mexican nongovernmental organization (NGO) sector, which has been involved in promoting community forestry for over two decades. A few terminological notes are in order. Throughout this book we will refer to community forest management (CFM) as the general phenomenon and to community forest enterprises (CFEs) in specific reference to communities that are commercially producing timber with varying levels of integration. 2 The Mexican Revolution in the second decade of the twentieth century left a strong mark on land tenure, creating or reinforcing community properties known as ejidos and indigenous or agrarian communities. While there are some differences in origins and governance, both forms establish collective governance of a common territory or property. While these community lands were long defined as held in usufruct from the state, reforms to the Mexican Constitution in 1992 strengthened community ownership of these lands. Unless it is important to distinguish them, the generic term communities will be used to refer to both of the common property community land tenure systems that exist in Mexico, ejidos and agrarian communities, as defined in Mexican agrarian law.3 Individual forest smallholder private properties exist in Mexico, and are probably more important than realized in the forest sector, but are not covered in this book.
In February of 1997 approximately 125 representatives of government agencies, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions, community forestry associations, and others met for four days to discuss the complex challenges facing the forestry sector in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The Agenda Forestal de Quintana Roo was organized by state agencies and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) with support from the United Kingdom's Department for International Development (DFID). In addition to topics such as industrialization, marketing, technical services, and public support, participants examined what they perceived to be worrisome trends regarding the capacity of land grant communities (ejidos) to consolidate community forest enterprises (CFEs). One of the main concerns centered on the apparent breakdown of CFEs into multiple independent producer groups. Several analysts suggested that such internal divisions might lead to a free-for-all in which individual groups would claim tracts of forest commons and abandon collective management and harvesting (DFID et al. 1998; Zabin and Taylor 1997). The move toward internal division within ejidos appeared to stem from broad legal reforms instituted by the Mexican government in 1992. In line with the actions of states across Latin America and other regions during this period, the Mexican government transformed the legal structure of the agrarian sector, promulgating constitutional and statutory reforms designed to promote economic liberalization and political decentralization. These institutional reforms included shifts in economic policy that lowered trade barriers and allowed for the privatization of state-owned industries. They also produced revisions to the federal Constitution that ended agrarian reform and altered the legal underpinning of the ejido system. Whereas collective lands were inalienable prior to 1992, the legal changes made it possible for community assemblies to dissolve their communal landholdings and obtain private property titles to the individual plots of land that had been governed collectively since the 1930s. Changes to the Constitution also allowed foreign corporations to own land in Mexico and enter into commercial partnerships with ejidos, both of which were illegal before 1992 (Cornelius and Myhre 1998; Key et al. 1998). As with all agricultural policies, the national forest law was rewritten to fall in line with liberal designs (see Merino-Pérez and Segura-Warnholtz, this volume). Beyond the legal changes regarding land tenure and foreign partnerships, revisions to the agrarian code permitted ejidatarios to form internal groups for commercial production. This subtle but important legal change allowed registered producer groups within ejidos to operate as independent commercial entities separate from the executive committee (comisariado ejidal), which had previously administered communal enterprises (see Taylor, this volume). This chapter explores how the formation of independent subgroups-known locally as work groups (grupos de trabajo)-has affected forest management, local economies, and community governance in two of Quintana Roo's most prominent forestry ejidos: Caoba and Petcacab. In the majority of large forestry ejidos in southern Quintana Roo, work groups have replaced ejido executive committees in the administration of most forest management responsibilities. This organizational shift constitutes a de facto dissolution of the CFE as originally conceived in the early 1980s under a program known as the Plan Piloto Forestal. Each work group administers timber profits from a percentage of the ejido's authorized annual harvest volume. While the work groups in both communities coordinate their forest management activities, they each decide how to use timber-based income. Since work group formation is not unique to Quintana Roo (see Taylor, this volume, for a discussion of the same phenomenon in Durango), it is worth exploring implications of these groups not just for communal forest management but also for collective governance under the ejido structure. What impact do work groups have on forest management and, by extension, forest protection? How do they affect the local economy, generally, and the distribution of timber profits, specifically? Finally, what impacts have work groups had on local governance? Do they represent the de facto breakdown of forestry ejidos in Quintana Roo? The chapter's first section provides a descriptive overview of Caoba and Petcacab. While the two ejidos are similar in many ways, they differ in terms of forestry production potential. Interestingly, Petcacab, the ejido with the higher production potential, and thus presumably greater economic incentives to cooperate, faced stiffer governance challenges compared to its less endowed counterpart, Caoba. The second section presents a comparative analysis of work group formation in Caoba and Petcacab. Caoba had seven groups in 2000, although two of these commanded a significant majority in local decision making. In contrast, Petcacab subdivided at two levels between 1996 and 2000, including 11 groups and another 18 group "sections." In the third and fourth sections, I examine the evolving collective rule systems that govern multigroup forest management in the two communities. While groups in Caoba mostly adhered to new rules, their counterparts in Petcacab frequently deviated from norms. The fifth section explores how work groups have affected local forest management and politics by focusing on changes in governance practices, participation, and informal economies. The final section of the chapter summarizes what work groups might mean for the future of community forestry in Quintana Roo.