Ecosta: Conservación & Desarrollo Comunitario

en la Costa de Oaxaca

Ecosta Yutu Cuii | Proyecto Conservación de Iguanas

Ecosta Yutu Cuii (que significa "arbol verde" en la idioma regional Mixteco) es una organización en la costa de Oaxaca que se dedica a promover el desarrollo sustentable y la conservación de los recursos naturales por modo de la educacion. Desde su fundación en 1993, Ecosta ha colaborado con varios comunidades, organizaciones e institutiones en el municipio de San Pedro de Tututepec para crear y desarrollar iniciativas que generan oportunidades y beneficios economicos, sociales y ambientales para las diversas comunidades de la region. 

 

Los proyectos comunitarios que maneja Ecosta, siempre son conceptualizados bajo la idea de que muchas pequeñas acciones forman parte de la solución a un problema regional. El primer proyecto fue la creacion de una micro-preserva ecologica hecha por 17 campesinos que decidieron juntarse para preservar las comunidades naturales (animales y plantas) que se pertenecian a sus tierras. Desde ahí entonces han hecho proyectos de la produccion de comida organica y sustentable (y la educacion comunitaria de practicas sustentables de la agricultura) y la conservacion de los recursos naturales. Ecosta ha exitosamente rescatado de extincion seis especies nativas de arboles tropicales en la region, ha logrado producir un plaguicida botanico experimental y documentar de mas de mil plantas insecticidas, 

We take for granted that environmental conservation and economic development are trade-offs, the former being a "luxury." This is expressed in economics as the Kuznets Curve: only when people are wealthy enough will they begin to care about the environment. But Ecosta's work reveals an opposite possibility. Conservation and development can co-exist; it's just a matter of scale and proper support.

More than 800 landowners participate in the micro-reserve program today, managing reserves that range from a half-hectare to 300 hectares (a bit over 740 acres)

Ecosta used three keys to open the way to this new relationship: education, food-sufficiency and micro-loans. They first taught the campesinos why clear-cutting for agriculture is a mistaken approach. Typically, corn plantations become unproductive after two to three years due to excessive fertilizer use and the loss of nitrogen-fixing by plants and micro-organisms that would otherwise re-energize the soil with nutrients. Cattle are often introduced to graze on the fallow land, but this causes soil-compaction and erosion. So additional forests have to be cut down for corn plantations, and the vicious cycle continues.

To avert this, Ecosta reintroduced organic-farming techniques and crop rotation with nitrogen-fixing plants. They explained the many benefits of keeping a reserve: less soil-erosion and heat-damage from the dry season, and healthier watersheds to disperse nutrients and diffuse toxins. On a personal level, the campesinos realized they could continue to harvest wood sustainably for fuel and construction, and have access to traditional medicinal and edible plants.

To ensure that farmers keep their reserves through years of bad production (when the temptation to clear new cropland is greatest), Ecosta began a food-sufficiency program. This is essentially a tutorial on how to create food gardens and keep small livestock. Ecosta works with 15 villages, which are growing vegetables and fruits and raising chickens. The organization also connects the families in a loose network for selling and trading surplus food.

As Ecosta grew, it was able to offer micro-loans as financial incentives to those participating in their projects. It now manages two micro-loan funds: one for agricultural assistance (tools, machinery, pest-management) and another for sustainable business (ecotourism, fair-trade products).

Reyes and Ecosta have taken on a new challenge: With local communities, they are fighting the construction of an 825-megawatt hydroelectric dam on the Rio Verde that would inundate villages and displace thousands of residents.

face a growing challenge in helping their communities adapt to climatic change. In Oaxaca, as on the rest of Mexico's Pacific coast, the dry and wet seasons used to be very predictable. But as Calderon mentioned during his opening speech in Cancun, the weather has been extreme.

Reyes explained how this unpredictability affects villagers:

"Before, the farmers knew the 15th of April was the day to start preparing their lands. That way, between the 2nd and 6th of June, they could plant the corn and know it would survive a sensitive initial period. Now, they no longer know. There are extremely dry years followed by extremely wet years, rains occurring in April or November that are outside the usual range. The grandfathers say that in the past, if the calandria bird was nesting in very tall trees, they knew it was likely a year with little wind; or conversely, if the calandria was nesting in low trees, they'd plant the corn only in areas protected from wind. Symbolic or practical, these signals are now changing so quickly the communities are struggling to re-orient themselves."

These climate disruptions, Reyes notes, make it even more critical to create micro-reserves and protect watersheds, which helps maintain some semblance of predictability in the area's hydrology for farmers. After the scares from this rainy season's massive landslides and floods, people are more committed than ever to re-learn the basics. They know they can't rely on the government; they need to manage the land themselves for the long haul, to better respond to extreme events and secure their future well-being.

With the micro-reserves as the platform, Mr. Reyes and his colleagues are de-constructing the last few decades of misguided information about agriculture and development. Using fertilizers and clear-cutting forests is no longer taken for granted; other options must be found. With an eye to what is helpful in the long term, the people of San Pedro Tututepec are hopeful that despite crises in climate or economy, they can remain resilient.

un vivero de vainilla como un cultivo nuevo en la región

se han establecido 6 brigadas comunitarias para el control de incendios forestales

Educación ambiental: Se organizó un grupo de mujeres para trabajar el papel reciclado y la serigrafía con el fin de poder elaborar materiales didácticos de apoyo a la educación ambiental

Capacitación comunitaria: Se realizan talleres y cursos de capacitación sobre diferentes temas dentro del desarrollo sustentable y la conservación de los recursos naturales. Se motivó la realización de encuentros de comunidades.

Entre varios proyectos para la conservación de los recursos naturales, uno es la cría de iguanas.

 

las iguanas son parte de la gastronomia tradicional de los Zapotecos de la región

 

(es estimado que se consume al rededor de NUMERO iguanas durante la Semana Santa)

amenazada por la destrucción de hábitat

Con el fin de reducir la presión de caza de las poblaciones silvestres de la especie, Ecosta ha implementado un criadero de iguanas 

conservar una fuente de alimento tradicional y generar fuentes de empleo.

Por la contaminacion, cambio climatico y por ser un alimento tradicional de la región, las iguanas de la costa de Oaxaca están en peligro de extincion. Por lo cual, Ecosta ha implementado un criadero de iguanas con el fin de reducir la presión de caza de las poblaciones silvestres de la especie, generando fuentes de empleo en el proceso. 

Comer iguana para los zapotecos es un  alimento sagrado porque  para su preparación se realiza un ritual gastronómico

Semana Santa  tiene una demanda excesiva, se llega a consumir hasta 500 reptiles

La delicadez con que toma cada reptil durante su preparación es una conexión de vida entre ambos, les trasmite tranquilidad y sus saberes gastronómicos que finalmente logra  el exquisito sabor.

En México hay alrededor de 20 especies de iguana, de las cuales 11 se encuentran en peligro, según la Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)

La iguana es un animal presente en la cultura zapoteca que predominó en esta región en la época prehispánica

los zapotecas, que en época de semana santa consumen según datos del Comité de Voluntarios para el Mejoramiento Ambiental (COVOMA) aproximadamente 500 iguanas al día

el consumo excesivo del reptil

Las crías nacen después de los 120 días de incubación

Río Grande, Oaxaca

Mayo 2018

LINDSEY DALTHORP

OLYMPIA, WA  |  MEXICO CITY

lindseydalthorp@gmail.com

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