Project properties

Title The most valued ecosystem services, Chiapas, Mexico
Group Forest Ecology and Forest Management Group
Project type thesis
Credits 39
Supervisor(s) FEM group: Frans Bongers (and possibly a social scientist at WUR)
Other organisation: prof. Patricia Balvanera – CIECO Mexico
Examiner(s) Prof.Dr. F.J.J.M (Frans) Bongers
Contact info Frans.Bongers@wur.nl
Begin date 2018/04/01
End date 2019/10/01
Description The general problem:
The search for alternatives to reconcile tradeoffs between biodiversity conservation, agricultural production and local livelihoods relies, among other things, on the understanding of what are the most valued ecosystem services.

The research consortia:
The FOREFRONT project, a joint initiative between Wageningen University, the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM), El Colegio de la Frontera Sur in Mexico, and the Universidad de Minas Gerais in Brasil is exploring these topics for the case of tropical forests in Chiapas, Mexico.

MScThesis:
A MSc thesis can be undertaken within this context to assess what are the most valued ecosystem services by the local farmers in the Marques de Comillas Municipality in Chiapas Mexico.

Field Methods:
A standard protocol will be followed to undertake aprox. 30 individual interviews to cattle ranchers, and agriculturalist from different locations within the study area.
The individual interviews will depart from a fixed list of ecosystem services elaborated by the FOREFRONT team, and depicted into individual drawings by a graphic designer. Each interviewee will be asked to order from the most service to the least important the drawings into a flipchart and to explain the reasons for this ordering. Basic socioeconomic information will be requested from each interviewee.

Analytical methods:
The resulting flipchart will be digitized and the position of each service will be used as a metric of its importance. The reasons associated to the choices will be analyzed using qualitative analyses. General patterns as well as differences among ejidos and types of interviewees will be explored.

Who can participate:
Students with very diverse backgrounds in biological sciences, anthropology, sociology, economics, geography, rural development, psychology, philosophy are most welcome. Students need to be 100% proficient in spoken and written Spanish and be willing to live in rural tropical humid areas.

Biodiversity and functional diversity/ Sustainable forest management/ Forest restoration and succession / ecosystem services/ America's/ Tropical zone
Used skills Database handling
Requirements FEM-30306 Forest Ecology and Forest Management; REG-31806 Ecological Methods I;
Possibly to be replaced by Sociological and participative methods