First Advisor

Martha A. Works

Date of Publication


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (M.S.) in Geography






Landscape ecology -- Mexico -- Michoacan, Forest landscape design -- Mexico -- Michoacan, Forest landscape management -- Mexico -- Michoacan, Tarasco Indians -- Mexico -- Michoacan



Physical Description

1 online resource (116 p.)


Social, political, economic, and environmental factors converge in developing countries to stimulate high rates of deforestation. Forest conversion reduces biodiversity, contributes to carbon loading of the atmosphere, alters the global water balance, and degrades the quality of life for rural people. Mexico is the fifth most biologically diverse country in the world and temperate and tropical forests in Mexico are rapidly disappearing with environmental and cultural repercussions for people and ecosystems.

This study examines changes in the forest landscape surrounding two communidades indigenas in Michoacan, Mexico over a 15-year period. The research area includes communal forest, pasture, and agricultural land within the adjacent municipal boundaries of two Purepecha Indian communities: Sevina and San Francisco Pichataro. The economies of both villages depend in part on wood products manufacturing with timber harvested in local mixed-pine forests. As a result, forest landscapes surrounding the towns are at risk for potentially rapid land cover change and environmental degradation.


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