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Scaling up the conservation of biodiversity through climate smart agro-silvopastoral practices in landscapes dominated by cattle-raising systems in Three Regions of Mexico

As of: October 2021

Mexico is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world, but its biodiversity is under threat. One of the reasons for this is intensive livestock farming, because forests are still being cleared to create new pastures. This leads to negative impacts, including a decline in biodiversity and the release of greenhouse gases. To counter this trend, the project supports approaches that combine trees, arable crops and animal husbandry in holistic systems. These ‘agrosilvopastoral’ systems increase the productivity and the income of agricultural stakeholders, improve the protection of biodiversity and reduce vulnerability to the effects of climate change. To this end, the project is seeking to integrate animal husbandry systems into Mexico’s climate change and biodiversity agenda – and is also establishing an incentive scheme for biodiversity protection and climate change adaptation/mitigation.

State of implementation/results

  • In 2020, different studies documenting the benefits of implementing sustainable livestock production are being conducted, including the monitoring of socioeconomic variables across livestock farms, water and carbon footprint, and synergies between adaptation and mitigation actions in livestock dominated landscapes. A study focused on carbon storage has been concluded, a manuscript will be submitted for publication highlighting the carbon storage potential of different land uses following a land use intensity gradient, discussing their potential to climate change mitigation particularly in livestock dominated landscapes.
  • During the COVID pandemic, capacity-building workshops have continued in virtual format, the most recent focused on “Sustainable Value Chains in Livestock Systems”.
  • Currently all 68 Farmer Field Schools are in the process of graduateding after successfully completing the agreed educational curriculum which was designed based on the express needs of farmers. In coordination with local partners, the FFS approach is being scaled up to other territories where additional livestock farmers will learn about sustainable livestock production and biodiversity conservation.
  • Inter-institutional learning communities formed in each one of the project areas in coordination with the state Secretariats of Agriculture and Environment.
  • Sustainable livestock working groups have been established in each of the three intervention territories with the goal of promoting sustainable and environmentally friendly livestock production practices and biodiversity conservation.
  • Research agendas are working towards the identification of research needs to inform decision making and help advancing climate-smart livestock production and biodiversity conservation. Biological monitoring covering multiple taxa [i.e., mammals, birds, plants and insects] are being coordinated and executed with partner universities across implementing territories.
  • Capacity building efforts in virtual formats, i.e. virtual forums and a virtual course on silvopastoral systems, have had numerous participants.

Further Links

Project data


Implementing organisation:
Tropical Agricultural Research and Higher Education Center (CATIE) - Costa Rica

Political partner(s):
  • Ministry for Agriculture and Rural Development (SADER) - Mexico
  • National Commission for Research and Utilisation of Biodiversity (CONABIO) - Mexico

Implementing partner(s):
  • The Inter-American Institute for Cooperation in Agriculture (IICA)

BMU grant:
2.965.000,00 €

12/2016  till  12/2021



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