Practices of soil conservation
The conditions of agricultural production in the localities of Ixcotitlán and Tonchintlán are characterized by having little soil, of bad quality and plenty of work force, in which the scarce available resources should be used to a maximum. Due to the low productivity and high fragility, the high pressure which the production units are exposed to, determine that the normal capacity of soil recovery and plant coverage are exceeded. We have to consider that the soil meets a supportive function in all of the earth’s ecosystems, which means that a key element in the degradation of the soil and, thus, the urgency to keep promoting practices that aim at the conservation and restauration of the soils. Moreover, it is a lot less expensive to prevent the degradation of the soil through the application of a good management based on the local knowledge as well as on the scientific one, which rehabilitated degradad land.
The Project’s Objective
This projects aims at the direct establishment of locale sustainable production and management of the soils which are already present in the communities, and the implementation of strategies of their conservation designed by the farmers in participatory planning processes and technical consulting.
The strategies to be applied have the main objective of containing and conserving the plots’ soils of the two participating localities. Those components contribute directly or indirectly to the provision of the environmental services by capturing coal, maintaining the biodiversity and favouring hydrological services.
By plating various species and varieties of crops in the plots, the long-term efficiency can be established, a spectrum of nutrients can be provided and the return of low levels of technology and limited resources can be maximized. On top of that, some of the implemented strategies will be translated in a augmented quantity within the alimentation and other goods in the home, as it is the case with firewood and wood, as well as the obtaining of an additional income due to the sale and local or regional exchange of those products.
The project’s direct counterpart are 6 farmer families of the localities of Ixcotitlán and Tonchintlán who have participated since the diagnosis of the local problematic connected to the land management and they are the main actors in the implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the planned strategies.
The smallholdings on which the strategies where applied were chosen by the farmers themselves and 5 of them are situated in the community of Tonchintlán and one of them in Ixcotitlán. Every farmer determined the action to take based on resources and self-interest as well as as a result of a dialogue between the other participating farmers and the technician team. The results we hoped for are displayed below by components:
- Living barriers. - Establishment in lines of the following subcomponents:
a. Cactus. Between 200 and 300 cactuses were planted in plot TN03-01 (maize), which were acquired within the community.
b. Leucaena sp. (gourd) A nursery for 200 seeds of leucaena sp. was established in the home of the farmer in order to transfer them to the plot TN03-01 (maize).
c. Bean plants (lentils). 160 seeds were sowed directly in 16 lines within plot TN04-01 (maize) and 20 in plot TN03-01.
- Unanimous Barriers
a. Construction of stone walls in two plots. Dry-stone walls were constructed in plots TN04-01 (maize) and TN05-01 (maize) by the farmers, taking advantage of the local stones.
- Living fences
a. Establishment of a living fence of avocado tree in a plot (maize). A nursery of creole avocado will be established in the farmer’s home in order to transfer and insert improved varieties of avocado into plot IX01-03.
a. Conversion of maize into a shadowing coffee plantation. In plot TN06-01, a shadowing coffee plantation will be established. In total, 200 creole coffee plants and 80 banana plants of the regions will be sowed.
a. Sowing of trees which are native to pronounced pendings inside the two plots. 50 trees of Alnus sp. (Coatlapal) will be sowed in plot TN07-01 (pasture) and 20 in plot TN03-01 (maize).
- In the month of January, a workshop on level curves was taught in the community of Tonchintlán.
- 50 trees of Alnus sp. (Coatlapal) where sowed in garden TN03-01 (maize).