Man farming agave in Mexican field. Credit: USFWS

Credit: USFWS

In Mexico, 90% of forests are managed by subsistence farming communities and indigenous peoples. In many cases, these communities own the lands where protected areas have been established and depend on the forests for their livelihoods, often through unsustainable methods. However, past conservation practices have largely ignored these communities, which has resulted in unsustainable resource use and dramatic loss of habitat. In order to incorporate these communities into conservation efforts, Wildlife Without Borders -  Mexico has established Stewards of the Land, a signature initiative designed to build capacity throughout local communities and indigenous people through education and cooperative management efforts.

Stewards of the Land is training an initial group of 150 people from 50 communities in 17 Mexican states. Its curriculum is non-traditional, practical and participatory and is based on the learning skills of each group. Teaching is often hands-on and done outdoors. The result is an expanding network of farmers who are skilled in sustainable natural resource management and recognition of the key role they play in conservation.

Total Funding for FY2010 and FY2011: $152,986. In-country match: $200,000.