Accepted Paper:

Biodiversity and different conservation strategies in Oaxaca mountains, Mexico  


Sebastian Pillitteri
Alfonsina Arriaga Jiménez (Instituto de Ecología, A.C.)

Paper short abstract:

This work takes place in two distinct mountain communities of Oaxaca, Mexico. Both are responding differently to migration and urbanization. We try to discern how those changes affect linguistic, cultural and biological diversity, and if TEK is lost with biodiversity is lost.

Paper long abstract:

The state of Oaxaca has the greatest ethnic and linguistic diversity in Mexico; and is growing in notoriety as a tourist destination. Our work focuses on two mountain communities, San Pablo Etla in the Sierra Norte and Santa María Tlahuitoltepec in the Sierra Mixe. As Oaxaca State positions itself to be more integrated into the global economy through tourism and trade, indigenous communities in the state are experiencing a multitude of cultural changes that are reducing Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK). The changes of greatest concern are the increase in monolingual education system and moving from agricultural to service occupations. The ways in which these communities have the capacity to respond to these changes has many different facets. With regards to land stewardship , San Pablo has a state recognized conservation program combined with Payment for Ecosystem Services, while the sacred mountain of Zempoaltépetl in Tlahuitoltepec, has been protected and honored by the community without a state defined conservation program. In both communities change processes are experienced, modifying the TEK, biodiversity and language. The main changes are migration and urbanization. The first occurs in both ways, native people leaving the community, and new incomers (marriage, tourists, etc.). The linguistic, cultural and biological diversity are sometimes threatened by the same causes, and the loss of diversity has serious health, economic, linguistic and social implications for them. This research seeks to discern the changes that have occurred in both communities, how they affected TEK, indigenous languages and biodiversity.

Panel Rur02
Tracking changes in the mountains: imaginaries, mobilities, narratives