Conservation and Development in the Biosphere Reserve of Mapimí: A Transdisciplinary and Participatory Project to Understand Climate Change Adaptation

  • N. Martínez-Tagüeña
  • E. Huber-Sannwald
  • R. I. Mata Páez
  • V. M. Reyes Gómez
  • C. Villarreal Wislar
  • R. Cázares Reyes
  • J. Urquidi Macías
  • J. J. López Pardo
Part of the Springer Climate book series (SPCL)


Mexican drylands cover over 50% of its territory. They are important socio-ecological systems (SES), like rangelands that are vital, both for the conservation of multifunctional landscapes and for human development. The UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Mapimí (BRM) is a dryland SES that harbors an extraordinarily high level of endemism in almost all biotic kingdoms and historically holds evidence of various mobile indigenous groups; later it became an important livestock production center. Thus, the BRM has been affected by land use and climate change for decades. Consequently, the BRM’s management plan by the National Commission of Natural Protected Areas (CONANP) seeks both the conservation of endangered species like the desert turtle and the implementation of sustainable development programs. In parallel, while long-term ecological research has generated ample knowledge on desert ecosystems, it has remained unavailable to local inhabitants, who hold local ecological knowledge and are, and will be, the key players and decision makers at the local scale. An interdisciplinary research group has responded to the challenge of linking knowledge systems in the context of global environmental change. They formed a transdisciplinary participatory research working-team with multiple stakeholders to develop projects that reflect interests of all actors. In this chapter, we describe the process of co-designing and jointly executing this research and further present the historic and current development challenges in the RBM, alongside a discussion on the adaptive potential of local communities, their production systems, and the dominant ecosystems in response to government help programs, adverse climatic conditions, and a strong tendency of out-migration. Transdisciplinary research brings numerous benefits when tackling sustainable development challenges in complex dryland SES.


Transdisciplinary research Rangelands MAB Reserve Socio-ecological Systems 



The authors thank all dwellers of the Mapimi Biosphere Reserve, the technicians of CONANP, and collaborators of PRONATURA for generously sharing their knowledge and experience. We thank Héctor Sergio Cortina Villar from ECOSUR for fruitful discussions and José Alfredo Ramos Leal for valuable insights on geo-hydrological aspects of the reserve. EHS gratefully acknowledges the financial support from CONACYT (projects CB 2015-251388B, PDCPN-2017/5036). NMT thanks her Cátedra CONACYT ID Number 6133 as part of the project 615.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. Martínez-Tagüeña
    • 1
  • E. Huber-Sannwald
    • 2
  • R. I. Mata Páez
    • 3
  • V. M. Reyes Gómez
    • 4
  • C. Villarreal Wislar
    • 5
  • R. Cázares Reyes
    • 6
  • J. Urquidi Macías
    • 6
  • J. J. López Pardo
    • 3
  1. 1.Cátedra CONACYT, Consortium for ResearchInnovation and Development of Drylands, Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y TecnológicaSan Luis PotosiMexico
  2. 2.División de Ciencias AmbientalesInstituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y TecnológicaSan Luis PotosiMexico
  3. 3.Instituto Potosino de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica, A.C.San Luis PotosíMexico
  4. 4.Red Ambiente y SustentabilidadInstituto de Ecología, A.C.ChihuahuaMexico
  5. 5.Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales ProtegidasTorreónMexico
  6. 6.Ejidatario de La Soledad, Reserva de la Biósfera de MapimíMapimiMexico

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