Agroforestry adoption in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Campeche, Mexico

  • D. Evan Mercer
  • Jeremy Haggar
  • Ann Snook
  • Mauricio Sosa


Since farmers engage in a complex, dynamic process of learning-by-doing, evaluating economic incentives, and assessing risks in deciding whether to adopt agroforestry systems, a multi-pronged research approach is required for a complete analysis of adoption potential and to develop effective technological and institutional interventions. A case study is presented for using multiple approaches to analyse the potential for reforestation and improving livelihoods of small farmers through the adoption of agroforestry systems in the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve in Campeche, Mexico. Specifically, the results from a participatory research project are combined with revealed preference analysis of a household survey to analyse past adoption decisions and preferences, identify limitations, test and evaluate alternatives, and evaluate methods for risk reduction. The participatory research trials suggest that continuous intercropping and line cleaning are equally effective for tree growth, while continuous cropping during the first years offers the additional advantage of early returns to investments through crop production. Farmer participation in the research process, planning of production systems, and annual evaluations, assisted farmers and researchers in identifying limitations, testing and evaluating alternatives, and improving the viability and sustainability of systems. The revealed preference analysis provides insights as to which households are most likely to initially adopt agroforestry systems developed through the participatory research trials. In general, households that originated from the Yucatan Peninsula with more education, more experience both in age of the head of household and technical and project experience, higher incomes, and those that had cleared more forestland were more likely to have experimented with agroforestry systems in the past.


Participatory research revealed preference analysis risk intercropping 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Amacher, G., Hyde, G.W. and Rafiq, M. (1993), ‘Local adoption of new forestry technologies: an example from Pakistan’s NW frontier province, World Development, 21(3): 445–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ashby, J.A. (1990), Evaluating Technology with Farmers: A Handbook, CIAT Publication Number 187, Centro Internacional de Agricultura Tropical, Cali, CIAT, Columbia.Google Scholar
  3. Ascher, W. (1995), Communities and Sustainable Forestry in Developing Countries, Institute for Contemporary Studies, San Francisco.Google Scholar
  4. Avila, M. (1995), Agroforestry Research to Develop Sustainable Agriculture in the Forest Buffer Zone of Southeast Mexico, Annual Report, International Council for Research in Agroforestry-Mexico, Chetumal, Mexico.Google Scholar
  5. Bosque Modelo de Calakmul (1994), Calakmul, Mexico Model Forest, pamphlet published by Canadian Ministry of Supply and Services, Québec.Google Scholar
  6. Bosque Modelo de Calakmul (1997), Visión Estratégica 1997–2000, Bosque Modelo para Calakmul, Ecologica Productiva, AC, pamphlet published by Canadian Ministry of Supply and Services, Québec.Google Scholar
  7. Cameron, L. (1999), ‘The importance of learning in the adoption of high-yielding variety seeds’, American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 81(1): 83–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Casey, J., Mercer, E. and Snook, A. (1999), ‘Evaluating farmer preferences for agroforestry systems: survey instrument design’, in Proceedings of the 1998 Southern Forest Economics Workers Conference, Williamsburg, VA, pp. 153–158.Google Scholar
  9. Feder, G., Just, R.E. and Zilberman, D. (1985), ‘Adoption of agricultural innovations in developing countries: A survey’, Economic Development and Cultural Change, 33(2): 255–295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Fischer A. and Vasseur, L. (2002), ‘Smallholder perceptions of agroforestry projects in Panama’, Agroforestry Systems, 54(2): 103–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Foster, A.D. and Rosenzweig, M.R. (1995), ‘Learning by doing and learning from others: human capital and technical change in agriculture’, Journal of Political Economy, 103(6): 1176–1209.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Godoy, R. (1992), ‘Determinants of smallholder commercial tree cultivation’, World Development, 20(5): 713–725.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haggar, J., Ayala, A., Diaz, B. and Uc Reyes, C. (2001), ‘Participatory design of agroforestry systems: developing farmer participatory research methods in Mexico’, Development in Practice, 11(4): 417–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Haggar, J.P., Rheingans, R., Aroyo, P. and Alvarado, B. (2003), ‘Benefits and Costs of intercropping reforestation in the Atlantic lowlands of Costa Rica’, New Forests, 25: 41–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Hayami, Y. and Ruttan, V.W. (1985), Agricultural Development: An International Perspective, 2nd edition, Johns Hopkins University Press, Baltimore.Google Scholar
  16. Maddala, G.S. (1983), Limited-dependent and qualitative variables in econometrics, Economic Society Monographs No. 3, Cambridge, Cambridge University Press, United Kingdom.Google Scholar
  17. Mercer, D.E. and Pattanayak, S. (2003), ‘Agroforestry Adoption by Smallholders’, in Forests in a Market Economy, K. Abt and E. Sills (eds), Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, Netherlands, pp. 283–300.Google Scholar
  18. Negreros, C.P. (1997), Evaluación del sostenibilidad del manejo forestal de la Organización de Ejidos Productores Forestales de la Zona Maya, Quintana Roo, Reporte a la Fundación Rockefeller, Mexico City.Google Scholar
  19. Pattanayak, S.K., Mercer, D.E., Sills, E.O. and Yang, J. (2003), ‘Taking stock of agroforestry adoption studies’, Agroforestry Systems, 57: 173–186.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Pender, J. and Kerr, J. (1998), ‘Determinants of farmers’ indigenous soil and water conservation investments in semi-arid India’, Agricultural Economics, 19: 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Scherr, S.J. (1995), ‘Economic factors in farmer adoption of agroforestry: patterns observed in Western Kenya’, World Development, 23(5): 787–804.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. SEMARNAP (2000), Programa de Manejo de la Reserva de Biosfera de Calakmul, Instituto Nacional de Ecologia, Ciudad de Mexico, Instituto Nacional de Ecologia y Secretaria de Medio Ambiente, Mexico City.Google Scholar
  23. Smid, C. (1999), ‘Reforestation of degraded agricultural land with native tree species in the buffer zone of the Calakmul Biosphere Reserve, Campeche Mexico’, Master’ thesis for the Nicholas School of Environment, Duke University, Durham, NC, USA.Google Scholar
  24. Snook, A. (1996), Annual Report, International Centre for Research in Agroforestry — Mexico, Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico City.Google Scholar
  25. Snook, A. (2004), ‘En busca de sistemas agroforestales viables; resultados y experiencias en Calakmul y la Zona Maya’, in Uso conservación y cambio en los bosques de Quintana Roo, Natalia Armijo y Carlos Llorens, cords, Universidad de Quintana Roo, Quintana Roo, México, pp. 131–158.Google Scholar
  26. Snook, A. and Zapata, G. (1998), ‘Tree cultivation in Calakmul, Mexico: Alternatives for reforestation’, Agroforestry Today, 10: 15–18.Google Scholar
  27. Sosa, L. (1997), ‘Evaluación de Plantaciones de Cedro y Caoba en Sistemas Agroforestales en el Area de Bosque Modelo, Reserva de la Biosfera de Calakmul’, Licenciatura Thesis, Universidad de Chapingo, Chapingo, Mexico.Google Scholar
  28. Thacher, T., Lee, D.R. and Schelhas, J.W. (1997), ‘Farmer participation in reforestation incentive programs in Costa Rica’, Agroforestry Systems, 35(3): 269–289.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Utting, P. (1993), Trees, People and Power: Social Dimensions of Forestation and Forest Protection in Central America, Earthscan, London.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • D. Evan Mercer
    • 1
  • Jeremy Haggar
    • 2
  • Ann Snook
    • 3
  • Mauricio Sosa
    • 4
  1. 1.Southern Research StationUSDA Forest ServiceResearch Triangle ParkUSA
  2. 2.Centro Agronómico Tropical De Investigación y Enseñanza CATIE, MIP/AFManaguaNicaragua
  3. 3.Consultant in Agroforestry and Natural ResourcesQuintana RooMexico
  4. 4.Emiliano Zapata No. 33 San Miguel Tocuela, Mpio. de Texcoco Estado de MexicoMexico

Personalised recommendations