Synergistic vulnerabilities: Climate variability and fire management policy increase farming challenges in southeastern Mexico
Periodo de realización: 1900/01/01 al 2016/06/01
Tipo: Artículo científico
Lugar(es) de estudio: Calakmul, Camp., México
Resumen: "Agricultural fire for land preparation is central in the livelihoods of subsistence farmers practicing shifting cultivation. Achieving a good agricultural burn, one in which the biomass is thoroughly consumed within the chosen area, depends on specific weather conditions. Fire use decisions are also shaped by institutions that define the timing and rules for fire use but also constrain the alternatives and shape adaptive capacities. Global and regional climate changes interact with the institutional framing of fire management affecting local fire use and burn outcomes. These effects are documented and analyzed to suggest adaptations to existing governance systems. We examined subsistence farmers’ socio-ecological vulnerability in the Calakmul municipality, located in southeastern Mexico. Using interviews with farmers and government agents, as well as participatory mapping and observation of agricultural burns, we studied fire management knowledge, practices and burn outcomes. Our results describe a continuum of burn outcomes covering good agricultural burns, uncontrolled burns leading to wildfires and ‘‘malquemados’’ literally poorly burned areas. Malquemados represent unsuccessful combustion associated with excess moisture that results in scorched vegetation. We discuss how unexpected early rains trigger effects that cascade through space and the ecological, economic and cultural domains. We argue that fire management has been historically approached from a conservation standpoint yet agricultural fire use and wildfire prevention should also be addressed from a rural development perspective. This shift in fire management would lead to the proper inclusion of the entire array of burn outcomes in studies and policies addressing farmers’ vulnerability amplified by synergistic effects between climate variability and institutional change."