TERESA ROJAS1, MANFRED ZELLER1, HOLM TIESSEN2
1Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute of Rural Development, Germany
2Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Institute of Plant Production and Agroecology in the Tropics and Subtropics, Germany
In Mexico, forests and wildlands have enormous social value for rural communities. Approximately, 18 millions people live in forest region. They are ethnically diverse and, for the most part, poor. Poverty is concentrated in the heavily forested southern states (Yucatán Península). The Mayan peasant farming families of the Yucatán Peninsula in south east Mexico have traditionally depended upon a ``Slash-and-burn'' system of staple food production. The land they work is collectively owned. This system is called ejido. Eighty percent of forest lands belong to ejidatarios and indigenous people. The communal forest in Yucatan has been overexploited for many decades. Deforestation took place in order to establish henequen plantations, provide grazing areas for extensive livestock management, for tropical wood exploitation and as part of national resettlement and agricultural modernisation programmes. Poverty amongst campesino families in Yucatán increases hand in hand with natural resource depletion. One of the most common strategies proposed in recent years for addressing environmental degradation and income generation in rural areas of the tropics is agroforestry. The Mexican Department of Forestry (CONAFOR) is now encouraging research programs on the reforestation with native tree species in order to increase the farmer's income and reduce the reforestation and soil degradation. One potential specie for reforestation is the multi-purpose tree Cordia dodecandra (Ciricote) which originates from the Yucatán Peninsula. It produces fruits and valuable timber. Because of the high economic value of its timber, in some cases more than the value of Swietenia macrophylla (Mahogany), Cordia dodecandra is a endangered species due to over exploitation. Few natural stands of Cordia dodecandra are scattered in the primary and secondary forests in the Southern Peninsula, in the State of Quintana Roo and Campeche. Planting Cordia dodecandra in agro-forestry scheme for the purpose of timber or fruits production might be a promising alternative for farmers all over the Peninsula. Comparison between the commercial value of timber and non-timber forest products (fruits) of Cordia dodecandra were carried out with the Net Present Value (NPV) analysis due to the farmer has to choose between timber and fruit production.
Keywords: Economic evaluation, non-timber forest products, timber, Yucatan Peninsula