Silvopastoral systems in local livestock landscapes in Hopelchén, Southern Mexico

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Springer Nature
Deforestation for livestock remains one of Mexico’s key socio-environmental problems. The municipality of Hopelchén is a deforestation hotspot despite being part of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, the largest forestland on the Yucatan Peninsula. Livestock are part of the local culture and economy, and there is potential for the development of traditional and improved silvopastoral (SP) systems. It is therefore important to identify SP elements in the local livestock landscape and explore the reasons or limitations for their adoption. The quality and quantity of SP elements in a landscape depend on practices carried out by each rancher throughout the livestock production cycle. We aimed to identify local livestock practices that result in SP landscape elements and explain their impact on forest cover in Hopelchén. We identified seven SP elements, six traditional and one improved, being forest strips combined with live or dead fences the most common. Stand-alone live fences are the least common, due to negative local perceptions about their construction and maintenance. Scattered trees are present at very low densities to prevent shading of grass, while forest fragments are maintained as a source of timber. The full potential of traditional SP elements is not being reached as they are mainly used for protection and construction, without exploiting their use as fodder and live fences. Only four producers have alley grazing, the only improved SP element found. To prevent further forest degradation and deforestation, more integrated management and use of forest and tree cover in the livestock landscape should be encouraged.
© The Author(s) 2023. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit The Version of Scholarly Record of this Article is published in Agroforestry Systems, 2023, available online at: . Keywords: traditional silvopastoral systems; local practices; landscape elements; land use; forest fragments; Campeche.
Špirić, J., Ramírez, M.I. Silvopastoral systems in local livestock landscapes in Hopelchén, Southern Mexico. Agroforest Syst (2023).