This paper outlines the major factors contributing to deforestation in the Sierra Chatina of Oaxaca, Mexico and examines the role played by neo-liberal restructuring in these processes. The last 25 years of rural development in the Sierra Chatino has been accompanied by increasingly large-scale environmental changes. The most obvious outcome has been the loss of 40 percent of the areas natural vegetation. Deforestation has accelerated and exacerbated ﬂooding and climate changes in the region as witnessed by the effects of El Niño driven storms such as Hurricane Pauline. This paper will focus on these processes of deforestation in the region. In this paper, we argue that the Mexican government’s neo-liberal policies have encouraged the commoditization of the Sierra Chatina forests at the expense of long-term ecological sustainability. Since 1992, Mexico has moved toward privatization of forests by removing the legal roadblocks to leasing of ejido and communal lands. Moreover, as neo-liberal policies have devalued the currency, eliminated subsidies, the Chatino have been pushed deeper into poverty, and into unsustainable uses of their forests. Thus, we contend that transformations of land-use patterns seen in these coastal mountains are part of a fundamental shift in local livelihoods from subsistence to cash-based strategies.
Keywords: Mexico, Oaxaca, Chatino, neo-liberal policy, ecological sustainablity, migration, political ecology, el Niño, privatization, climate change, environmental degradation, rural development
How to Cite:
Emanuel, R. M. & Greenberg, J. B., (2000) “Lluvia Enojada-Tyoo Kuasi': The Political Ecology of Forest Extraction in the Sierra Chatina, Oaxaca, Mexico”, Journal of Political Ecology 7(1), 43-64. doi: https://doi.org/10.2458/v7i1.21546