mapping land-use and decision making

The goal of my current research is to understand how land-use patterns influence the socio-ecological landscape in rural, largely indigenous communities. The context for this research is a municipality in the Mexican state of Yucatán. The main methods employed are landscape mapping, in-depth interviews, and visual documentation of land-use processes and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK). Specifically, this research maps agrarian communities in order to examine the relationship between neoliberal policy shifts in Mexico and the region’s ecology. This research examines the social context in which these ecological changes take place and the manner by which traditional ecological knowledge is maintained and passed on to the next generation. In the face of major land-use changes, some of which entail farmers no longer farming, future generations in this and other communities will have little access to this type of knowledge. Taken together, these data on social relationships within communities and the land-use patterns that are the product of these relationships will inform our understanding of the social and ecological effects of privatization and, more broadly, the impacts of neoliberalism on the landscape.