The focus of this two-year project, that began in April 2012, was to arm Chinantec community researchers with skills to boost the management of their cultural landscapes and natural areas through the establishment of a participatory monitoring programme. It built on the earlier project entitled Management Programmes for Indigenous Voluntary Conserved Areas in Oaxaca, Mexico that supported the elaboration of management plans for Voluntary Conserved Areas (VCAs) in the Chinantla region of Oaxaca.

Implementing community based monitoring

This project was designed as a response to a request made by the communities themselves to sustain community conservation in the biodiversity rich cloud forests of the Chinantla. Specifically, over 17,000 hectares of Oaxaca’s tropical forests, including cloud forest, a biodiversity-rich ecosystem endangered in Mexico, benefits through enhanced community conservation and monitoring. This supports Oaxaca state priorities, in particular, its emphasis on food sovereignty, reforestation of degraded areas, watershed protection, environmentally-sound agricultural production and marketing of local products. It also supports the goals of the Convention on Biological Diversity to respect the knowledge, practices and innovations of indigenous communities engaged in conservation, sustainable resource use and equitable sharing of benefits.

Following guidelines established in management plans for VCAs in the preceding project, representatives from GDF, governmental agencies and academic institutions collaborated with community-based researchers to design and implement the monitoring of landscape and resource management in the VCAs of three Chinantec communities.


Project Objectives

Build the capacity of community researchers in participatory resource monitoring, socioeconomic analysis and advanced pGIS;

Implement community-based monitoring protocols to assess the socio-ecological impact of conservation measures such as VCAs and PES on forest use, subsistence agriculture, hunting, fishing and NTFP gathering practices; and

Share and disseminate lessons with colleagues working in community conserved areas in Mexico through participatory research protocols and cross-visits.


Project Implementer

GDF’s partner organisation in Mexico, Anima Mundi A.C. – Investigación y Acción Biocultural


Project Donor 

Darwin Initiative, Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs of the United Kingdom (DEFRA)


Project Partners

Instituto de Ecología A.C. (INECOL)

Office of Regional Operations, Oaxaca State Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Development

Institute of Environmental Studies, Universidad de la Sierra Juarez

Centro de Investigaciones Tropicales – Universidad Veracruzana