Using Multimedia to assist Rural Communities in Chiapas, Mexico

On past projects I've worked mostly in the fields--building soil, planting trees, designing gardens.  However, there isn't a very high demand for such work here in Chiapas, where the majority already practice their own subsistence agriculture, and physical laborers can be hired for 80 pesos a day ($4.5 USD).  Instead, Omero Guillen Villatoro, agricultural engineer and renowned leader of community development projects, has recruited me to make videos.  Promoting tourism and raising awareness has been my focus, the most productive use of my time here, according to Omero's vision and the circumstances of rural Chiapas.

Pro-Bosque (Part 1): Nurseries for Reforestation

reforestation Mexico State Pro-Bosque ecological restoration trees nursery pinus patula

Pro-Bosque are the “Forest Protectors” for the State of Mexico (not to be confused with the country of Mexico), roughly the size of New Jersey. Their mission is to “provide services and products that strengthen the management, protection, conservation and restoration of forests in the State.” To find out more, let's visit the Pro-Bosque headquarters in Toluca, also home to their seed bank, genetics lab and two nurseries.

Greening and Mapping a City - Leon, Mexico

Leon Mexico reforestation greening mapping GIS trees planting restoration ecology urban

While reforestation projects abound in Mexico, finding them can be hit or miss—sending emails, visiting officies.  The city of Leon is an exception and a destination for fellow restoration enthusiasts thanks to a Google map.  Created by the city's Environmental Department (DGGA)[1], the map shows greening-related projects throughout greater Leon, including:
  • 140 reforestation sites in Leon and surrounding Sierra de Lobos.
  • 671 green areas
  • 134 'adopted green areas'
  • 35 urban gardens

Trees of Mexico (Temperate Forest)

Communities Protecting Monarch Preserves in Mexico

Monarch butterfly preserve sierra chincua sanctuary michoacan mexico oyamel fir reforestation

“They're here to protect the oyamel forests,” said Julian, tour guide at Sierra Chincua Monarch Sanctuary as we passed federal police with assault rifles. “Foreign loggers used to come and destroy them;” the oyamel trees made valuable furniture.  Now, logging of the 'sacred' oyamel firs (Abies religiosa) has since ended, according to Julian. His community depends on healthy forests for their livelihoods, as do the hundreds of millions of Monarch butterflies who migrate here to overwinter every year.

Forests for Communities - Reforestation at El Carmen

Reforestation will succeed when it benefits communities.

Thomas Garcia Reforestation Conafor Michoacan Mexico El Carmen Ejido

The site was the community's worst, most degraded land—95 acres of barren hills sliced by eroding ravines. “The soil here used to look like the road,” said Thomas Garcia, pointing to the rocky path we arrived on.  Garcia leads the community of El Carmen, one of Mexico's ejidos, which are communal lands collectivized since the Revolution dismantled the haciendas, which were feudal estates owned by a wealthy family.[1]  Constant throughout those centuries was the grazing of cattle that reduced much of El Carmen to an infertile desert.

Three Principles for Reforesting the World - with Brian Fey

"We're going to reforest the world," Brian exclaimed, minutes after I arrived at his home slash farm, nursery, education center and reforestation site.  Bosque Village, meaning 'Forest Village' in its official language of Spanglish, is also an experiment in "living happily and comfortably in a post fossil-fuel world."  Since founding Bosque Village in 2004, Brian's has been proving that humans can coexist with forests.  From his wealth of experience I've complied Brian's "Three Principles for Reforesting the World."