Agroforestry Systems

, Volume 18, Issue 2, pp 149–177 | Cite as

The T'OLCHE', a Maya system of communally managed forest belts: the causes and consequences of its disappearance

  • G. G. A. Remmers
  • H. De Koeijer


The T'OLCHE' is a protected forest belt about 10–20 m wide that runs through the Mayan landscape on the limits of the maize fields of the farmers. This study explores its traditional use and management and traces how it has changed in the last 30 years in the study village in Yucatán, Mexico. A major change is in its extent; little remains of the 10–20% of the area it occupied in the past. Two of the causes of this are identified as being a credit programme of the local bank and 1973 state legislation concerning cattle. The causes and consequences of this decline are discussed in relation with other farmer-perceived changes in overall landuse, including a fall in maize yields. The ecological roles of the T'OLCHE' are examined. It is argued that the T'OLCHE' plays an essential role in the regeneration of the fallow vegetation and in the maintenance of biological diversity. The case of the T'OLCHE' suggests the need for a diversified and politicized look on Common Property Resource Management.

Key words

Maya shifting cultivation shelterbelt fallow regeneration traditional landuse common property management 


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Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. G. A. Remmers
    • 1
  • H. De Koeijer
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of ForestryWageningen Agricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.SleeuwijkThe Netherlands

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