Background

Background

Background Petn is largest department (35,000 km2) in Guatemala A region of lowland rainforest Background Population has grown from 25,000 in 1965 to about 700,000 today

Background Land cover change Background Land cover change Background

Population growth is likely to continue In order to: Conserve remaining forest Help ensure the long-term food security of people in the region a critical need to: Improve economic conditions

Intensify land use Improve fertility management in areas already cleared El Petn and the Maya Biosphere Reserve The Farming System

Mean holding size = 30 ha Mean cropping area per season = less than 5 ha Main crop = maize

The Farming System Also common are beans (69% of households), squashes, rice, and various fruits and vegetables, generally for home consumption only Very weak market conditions and infrastructure

Very few farmers have cattle The Farming System Mounting pressure to intensify Pathways to intensification include: Use of green manure (Mucuna spp.) Tractor plowing

The Farming System Pathways to intensification: High value cash crops (peanut, sesame, watermelon, some pineapple) Perennials

Key Finding Intensification being promoted by extensionists but adoption rates vary substantially Household and regional scale factors influencing adoption

Household Scale Factors Property size and tenure type Amount of remaining forest on property Amount of land in fallow Amount of degraded land on property Plot locations

Soil quality Household wealth and labor supply Farmer experience Community or Regional Scale Factors Land quality and micro-climate Market conditions

Physiologic density (people per arable land) Availability of off-farm employment Settler origins and colonization history Key Finding Each study area distinct...

Ruta Bethel Area Better soil and market conditions Considerable tractor plow usage and cash cropping (wealthier farmers) Many landless farmers who rent land and practice slash and burn

Ruta Naranjo Area Highest pressure to intensify Substantial use of mucuna-based green manure system (hardly used in other study areas)

Ruta Tikal Area Relatively high population density but much off-farm employment in urban and tourism sectors Most households farm only to meet subsistence needs Little interest in farming and agricultural intensification

Key Finding Poorer households place greater emphasis on intensification strategies oriented toward household food security, such as: Perennial crops (citrus, avocado, mango, plantain, etc.) Homegarden systems

Use of green manure system In Search of Common Ground: Food Security, Ecotourism and Conservation in the Ecuadorian Tropics Heather McIlvaine-Newsad

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