Land management strategies and their implications for Mazahua farmers’ livelihoods in the Highlands of Central Mexico

Belina García Fajardo, María Estela Orozco Hernández, John McDonagh, Gustavo Álvarez Arteaga, Patricia Mireles Lezama

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This paper presents a case study from a Mazahua indigenous community in the rural Highlands of Central Mexico. It analyses Mazahua farming livelihoods characterised by subsistence agriculture, marginality, poverty and severe land degradation. Mazahua farmers face constrained environmental, socioeconomic and cultural conditions, which influence their local decisions on natural resource management. The results describe the capital assets base used, where land, livestock and crop production are imperative assets to support farmers’ livelihood strategies. It analyses local management practices to achieve livelihood outcomes in the short/long term, and to improve or undermine land characteristics and other related assets. It also presents a farmer typology constructed by local perceptions, a controversial element to drive sustainable development strategies at the local level. Finally, it discusses how local land management practices are adopted and their importance in developing alternatives to encourage positive trade-offs between conservation and production in order to improve rural livelihoods.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5-12
Number of pages8
JournalMiscellanea Geographica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 16 Jun 2016


  • Rural livelihoods
  • Mazahua farmers
  • hillside areas

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