Documenting the spectrum of ecosystem management, the roles of forestry and agricultural biodiversity, TEK, and human culture for food sovereignty, are all priority challenges for contemporary science and society. Ethnoagroforestry is a research approach that provides a theoretical framework integrating socio-ecological disciplines and TEK. We analyze in this study general types of Agroforestry Systems of México, in which peasants, small agriculturalist, and indigenous people are the main drivers of AFS and planning of landscape diversity use. We analyzed the actual and potential contribution of ethnoagroforestry for maintaining diversity of wild and domesticated plants and animals, ecosystems, and landscapes, hypothesizing that ethnoagroforestry management forms may be the basis for food sufficiency and sovereignty in Mexican communities, regions and the whole nation.
We conducted research and systematization of information on Mexican AFS, traditional agriculture, and topics related to food sovereignty from August 2011 to May 2015. We constructed the database Ethnoagroforestry based on information from our own studies, other databases, Mexican and international specialized journals in agroforestry and ethnoecology, catalogues and libraries of universities and research centers, online information, and unpublished theses. We analyzed through descriptive statistical approaches information on agroforestry systems of México including 148 reports on use of plants and 44 reports on use of animals.
Maize, beans, squashes and chili peppers are staple Mesoamerican food and principal crops in ethnoagroforestry systems practiced by 21 cultural groups throughout Mexico (19 indigenous people) We recorded on average 121 ± 108 (SD) wild and domesticated plant species, 55 ± 27% (SD) of them being native species; 44 ± 23% of the plant species recorded provide food, some of them having also medicinal, firewood and fodder uses. A total of 684 animal species has been recorded (17 domestic and 667 wild species), mainly used as food (34%).
Ethnoagroforestry an emergent research approach aspiring to establish bases for integrate forestry and agricultural diversity, soil, water, and cultural richness. Its main premise is that ethnoagroforestry may provide the bases for food sovereignty and sustainable ecosystem management.