Mexican youth and female leaders for integrated landscape management

The two natural protected areas, Selva El Ocote and Pantanos de Centla biosphere reserves, located in Southern Mexico, are threatened by several effects of climate change. As a result, climate and social vulnerability are increasing, productive areas are becoming less fruitful, and people have less life quality. The IKI Small Grants project aims to strengthening the integrated landscape management of these biological areas through improving territorial governance, the restoration of degraded areas and the promotion of local economies for climate resilience and biodiversity conservation.


In Southern Mexico, there are two important protected areas: Selva El Ocote in the state of Chiapas, and Pantanos de Centla in the state of  Tabasco. Both sites are national biosphere reserves that means they preserve relevant ecosystems and biodiversity. Selva El Ocote is one of the largest areas of well-preserved rainforest and habitat for priority wildlife species. The main occupation of the land users here is livestock farming. Pantanos de Centla is the largest complex of wetlands in Mesoamerica, where artisanal fishing is the main source of income. In both areas, biodiversity is becoming threatened by anthropic activities related with extensive livestock farming and forest fires respectively. This causes deforestation and degradation in the local ecosystems, making their productive areas less useful, and increasing the climate vulnerability related to droughts, floods, storms, forest fires, and landslides. In addition, in recent years a decline in water supply and quality has been observed in both locations.


This IKI Small Grants project targets seven rural communities in both natural protected areas that face difficulties in accessing basic services such as health care, education, and formal markets. In these communities, local authorities, organised groups of fishermen and ranchers, youth, and women leaders will benefit from the project in social, economic and ecological dimensions. Another target group are the ministries of environment, fishery, agriculture, and civil protection of the of the municipalities of which belong the communities s, who benefit from the project through participation in the preparation and implementation of local land management plans, enhancing their capacities and knowledge.


The IKI Small Grants project strengthens community networks for territorial planning and management. For this, the implementing organisation holds trainings and organises dialogues to enable collaborations between key actors and government authorities. They offer technical assistance and support to community leaders and local groups to enable them to identify options for conservation, restoration, and management of their ecosystems. This project includes socioecological analysis developed with geographic information systems and participatory mapping to support local communities and authorities for the development or updating of their land use management plans.

The project also supports activities for the restoration of degraded areas with an ecological connectivity  concept for integrated land management. It carries out participatory planning and implementation of ecosystem restoration actions at priority sites. Another objective is to strengthen the local capacity of young people for biodiversity monitoring and promotes community monitoring long-term and periodical maintenance agreements for restored areas. With the participation of local people, it analyses the physico-chemical indicators of water quality in natural springs.

Another aim is to integrate sustainable best practices into local value chains to promote inclusive and economic development. The organisation therefore organises several workshops to share good practices and knowledge on sustainable livelihoods for local communities and environmental, fisheries and agricultural authorities. The project is introducing agrosilvopastoral production practices and sustainable fishing practices to increase the productivity and sustainability of fisheries. One product will be a video to disseminate project development and results as well as sustainable farming practices through testimonials from local producers.


IKI Small Grants supports Foro para el Desarrollo Sustentable A.C. in their organisational capacity development through:

  • New approaches and techniques of sustainable livestock
  • Updating GIS analysis and the use and processing of drone images
  • Organisational processes for the development of local value chains


Foro para el Desarrollo Sustentable A.C. is a non-profit civil society organisation from Mexico registered since 1997. Its mission as civil society organisation is to develop and promote economic, environmental, and social alternatives, in order to improve the living conditions of local and indigenous communities as well as strengthening the political participation in the policy spaces of sustainable development.