Agroforestry systems of a Zapotec community in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico

Keywords: Coffe plantation, home gardens, milpa, use value


Background: Agroforestry systems have cultural, economic, social, and biodiversity conservation significance and are essential for the subsistence of communities.

Questions: Is there a difference in the richness, management and use of useful plants present in the agroforestry systems (home gardens, coffee plantations, and milpa)? What is the influence of sociodemographic factors on the distribution of traditional knowledge regarding plants of these systems?

Site and years of study: Las Delicias, municipality of Juquila Vijanos, Sierra Norte of Oaxaca, Mexico, from January 2016 to May 2018.

Methods: Visits to three agroforestry systems and semistructured interviews with 30 families to learn how they use the plants and to calculate the use value (UV) for each species. The similarity of floristic composition between agroforestry systems and the influence of sociodemographic factors (age, gender, schooling, economic activity and language) in the traditional plant knowledge was evaluated. The methods used were chi squared and proportions analyses, and a generalized linear analysis with Poisson distribution.

Results: The three agroforestry systems consisted of 211 of useful plants; home gardens and coffee plantations had a greater similarity in floristic composition; the dissimilarity of the milpa agroecosystem is related to seasonality. The plants with higher UVs were those with multiple uses, and are found mainly in coffee plantations. Production in these spaces is complemented to satisfy the needs of the inhabitants. Gender and economic activity are factors that influence the distribution of traditional knowledge.

Conclusion: Agroforestry systems provide a species richness differentiated for specific purposes but complementary to each other.


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Author Biographies

Sunem Pascual-Mendoza, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Unidad Oaxaca

PhD student

Postgraduate Department

Gladys Isabel Manzanero-Medina, Centro Interdisciplinario de Investigación para el Desarrollo Integral Regional, Instituto Politécnico Nacional, Unidad Oaxaca

Department of Investigation

 Research Professor

Alfredo Saynes-Vásquez, Instituto Saynes de Investigaciones sobre Cultura, Lengua y Naturaleza

Department of Investigation

Research Professor

Marco Antonio Vásquez-Dávila, Instituto Tecnológico del Valle de Oaxaca


Forest Department

 Research Professor


Agroforestry systems of a Zapotec community in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico


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How to Cite
Pascual-Mendoza, S., Manzanero-Medina, G. I., Saynes-Vásquez, A., & Vásquez-Dávila, M. A. (2020). Agroforestry systems of a Zapotec community in the Northern Sierra of Oaxaca, Mexico. Botanical Sciences, 98(1), 128-144.