MEX-PhD-1. Landscape history in marqués de comillas: actors, policies, and colonization dynamics

This PhD project focuses on an inclusive understanding of landscapes that takes seriously the local and situated knowledges that actors have about these landscapes, about their value and benefits they derive from them. This project will analyse these processes and interactions through empirically grounded research that connects social and natural science insights with the lived experiences of local actors. It will contribute to the objectives 1 and 2 of the FOREFRONT program. The focus landscape is the region of the Selva Lacandona, in Chiapas, Mexico.

Aims: What affects between humans and non-humans have enabled the emergence of three dominant social-ecological landscape assemblages (pastures, forests and agriculture) in MdC during the last 45 years? The affects that will be explored for each social-ecological landscape assemblage are: Culture, life histories, perceptions, values and beliefs towards the land, land-use practices, economic needs & incentives, land tenure & bundles of rights, governmental programs/policies, ecological affordances/resistances. I will focus on these three landscape units (pastures, forests and agriculture) because they are the predominant land-uses in the study area.

Methodology: This research will be grounded on a systematic ethnographic and biographic approach, and on a nature-culture interface analysis. Methods include participant observation, interviews, genealogies, community mapping, focus-group discussions and documents review.