Large-Scale Reforestation in Indigenous Michoacan, Mexico

Rick Kearns

One governmental agency is aiming to grow hundreds of thousands of trees and create a few thousand jobs in an indigenous community in Mexico.

On December 17 the National Commission for the Development of Indigenous Peoples (NCDIP) in Mexico announced the start of a reforestation program in the Purepecha community of Angahuan, Michoacan. It marks the second large-scale reforestation effort in the heavily indigenous state of Michoacan since 2012.

In a press event in Angahuan, NCDIP Director Nuvia Mayorga asserted that the project will help reforest the area, diminish environmental decay and reactivate the local economy with a source of lasting income.

"We want to spur on this type of project, and the communities can count on the NCDIP to follow along with this so that it will have a major impact," Mayorga continued. "We don't want projects that die in a year, but ones that last and produce results."

The NCDIP will spend 233,000 pesos to fund a forest nursery in Angahuan that will start with 3,000 trees and will eventually lead to the growing of 220,000 trees that will cover over 543 acres in the areas conservation district. The Angahuan Forest Participatory Group will oversee the operation which, according to NCDIP estimates, will result in close to 3,000 jobs.

This forest nursery will be designed to grow three large rows of pine tree that is native to Michoacan, known as the Pseudostrobus, Leuyopilla and Michoacan.

Later that day, Director Mayorga and other state and local officials also met with representatives of the nearby Mariposa Butterfly Biosphere Council to discuss ways that the government could help fund the butterfly sanctuary.

In December of 2012, the Michoacan town of San Francisco Pichataro celebrated the planting of over 1 million trees, 300,000 water channels and other natural borders as part of the massive reforestation effort in the northern part of the state.