Climatic Change

, Volume 107, Issue 3, pp 363–389

Indigenous perception of changes in climate variability and its relationship with agriculture in a Zoque community of Chiapas, Mexico

  • Maria Silvia Sánchez-Cortés
  • Elena Lazos Chavero

DOI: 10.1007/s10584-010-9972-9

Cite this article as:
Sánchez-Cortés, M.S. & Chavero, E.L. Climatic Change (2011) 107: 363. doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9972-9


This study analyses the perceptions of Zoque indigenous men and women of changes in climate variability, indicated by rainfall and temperature records from the region. Peasant farmers perceive decreases in rainfall and increases in temperature as these factors are related to modifications in the corn planting season and the introduction of crops which were usually only found in hot regions. The climate changes in the zone are attributed to vegetation loss and the eruption of the Chichón volcano in 1982. The Zoque perception is structured according to cultural and individual experience, tied to agriculture and the annual weather calendar. The volcanic eruption offers a significant chronological reference point in order to explain different environmental transformations, such as climate, within Zoque territory. Perception is the mental picture of local climate variability changes and the responses in seasonal agriculture modifications, utilizing individual and cultural experiences which are vulnerable to economic and environmental change.


perceptions climate knowledge changes in climate variability  chichón Volcano Zoque indigenous 

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria Silvia Sánchez-Cortés
    • 1
  • Elena Lazos Chavero
    • 2
  1. 1.Facultad de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad de Ciencias y Artes de ChiapasTuxtla GutiérrezMéxico
  2. 2.Instituto de Investigaciones SocialesUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMéxico