• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Acknowledgement
 Table of Contents
 List of Tables
 List of Figures
 Abstract
 Chapter 1: Introduction
 Chapter 2: Literature review
 Chapter 3: Study methods
 Chapter 4: Description of the study...
 Chapter 5: Research findings
 Chapter 6: Conclusions and...
 Appendix A: Definitions
 Appendix B: Characteristics of...
 Appendix C: Linear programming...
 Appendix D: Milpa questionnair...
 Appendix E: Household consumption...
 Reference
 Biographical sketch






Title: Food security and household livelihood strategies in the Maya Biosphere Reserve
CITATION PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE PAGE TEXT
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00054865/00001
 Material Information
Title: Food security and household livelihood strategies in the Maya Biosphere Reserve the importance of milpa in the community of Uaxactún, Petén, Guatemala
Physical Description: xi, 167 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Litow, Paul A
Publication Date: 2000
 Subjects
Subject: Food supply -- Guatemala -- Reserva de la Biosfera Maya   ( lcsh )
Households -- Guatemala -- Reserva de la Biosfera Maya   ( lcsh )
Economic conditions -- Reserva de la Biosfera Maya (Guatemala)   ( lcsh )
Agricultural Education and Communication thesis, M.S   ( lcsh )
Dissertations, Academic -- Agricultural Education and Communication -- UF   ( lcsh )
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
non-fiction   ( marcgt )
 Notes
Thesis: Thesis (M.S.)--University of Florida, 2000.
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references (leaves 158-166).
Statement of Responsibility: by Paul A. Litow.
General Note: Printout.
General Note: Vita.
Funding: Electronic resources created as part of a prototype UF Institutional Repository and Faculty Papers project by the University of Florida.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00054865
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved, Board of Trustees of the University of Florida
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002572427
oclc - 45125822
notis - AMT8751

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Page i
    Dedication
        Page ii
    Acknowledgement
        Page iii
        Page iv
    Table of Contents
        Page v
        Page vi
    List of Tables
        Page vii
        Page viii
    List of Figures
        Page ix
    Abstract
        Page x
        Page xi
    Chapter 1: Introduction
        Page 1
        Chapter overview
            Page 1
        General description of the Peten
            Page 2
            Page 3
            Page 4
        General description of Uaxactun and surrounding areas
            Page 5
        Current events, concerns, and future issues
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Key components to understand and address problems
            Page 8
            Page 9
        Significance of the research
            Page 10
        Limitations of the study
            Page 11
        Research objectives
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
    Chapter 2: Literature review
        Page 15
        Chapter overview
            Page 15
        Farming systems research and extension
            Page 16
            Page 17
        Livelihood strategies
            Page 18
            Page 19
            Page 20
        Livelihood systems
            Page 21
        The limited-resource household and its goals
            Page 22
        Gender
            Page 23
            Page 24
            Page 25
        Participatory approaches to conservation
            Page 26
        Why participatory approaches?
            Page 27
            Page 28
    Chapter 3: Study methods
        Page 29
        Methods of data collection
            Page 30
        Population
            Page 31
            Page 32
    Chapter 4: Description of the study area and livelihood systems
        Page 33
        Chapter overview
            Page 33
        Property rights
            Page 34
        Climate and soils
            Page 35
            Page 36
        Soils
            Page 37
        Domestic animals
            Page 37
        Diet
            Page 38
        Division of labor
            Page 39
        Constraints to life
            Page 40
        The local economy
            Page 41
        Supporting elements of livelihood systems
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
            Page 50
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
            Page 61
            Page 62
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
            Page 67
    Chapter 5: Research findings
        Page 68
        Chapter overview
            Page 68
        The relative importance of Milpa, Xate, Chicle, Allspice and other activities
            Page 68
            Page 69
            Page 70
        Linear programming objectives
            Page 71
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
        Results of linear programming analyses
            Page 84
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
            Page 91
            Page 92
            Page 93
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
            Page 101
        Summary of research findings
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
    Chapter 6: Conclusions and recommendations
        Page 107
        Chapter overview
            Page 107
        Milpa
            Page 107
            Page 108
            Page 109
            Page 110
            Page 111
            Page 112
        Recommendations
            Page 113
            Page 114
            Page 115
            Page 116
            Page 117
            Page 118
            Page 119
            Page 120
            Page 121
    Appendix A: Definitions
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
    Appendix B: Characteristics of modeled households
        Page 125
        Page 126
    Appendix C: Linear programming model
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
    Appendix D: Milpa questionnaire
        Page 149
        Page 150
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 155
        Page 156
    Appendix E: Household consumption and costs sheet
        Page 157
    Reference
        Page 158
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Biographical sketch
        Page 167
Full Text









FOOD SECURITY AND HOUSEHOLD LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES
IN THE MAYA BIOSPHERE RESERVE: THE IMPORTANCE OF MILPA
IN THE COMMUNITY OF UAXACTUN, PETEN, GUATEMALA













By

PAUL A. LITOW


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF SCIENCE

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2000































To my family and friends.












ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

There is no way to repay the debt of gratitude that I owe to the people of

Uaxactun. This study would not have been possible without their patience, their time,

and their help. It is their information, their stories, their lives that are contained in the

words, tables, and graphs found in this document. I would like to thank all who opened

their lives and homes to me there, who fed me, who laughed with (and at) me, and who

gave me lessons in reality and humanity. The multitude of things they have taught me

has changed the way I look at the world.

I have constantly struggled with the realization that this research will most likely

not change things concretely for Uaxactuneros in the near future. I can only hope that the

information in this thesis might, at some future juncture, assist them as they struggle with

the issues of conservation, development, and their livelihoods.

I would like to thank Roan Balas-McNab and Wildlife Conservation Society for

funding this research. Thanks to Roan is also due for easing my entry into Uaxactun,

helping me with the necessary paperwork in Guatemala, providing me with information

in those last panicked days prior to defending this work, and for his general support and

encouragement. I hope that this thesis will assist WCS's endeavors in Uaxact6n.

I would also like to thank my committee for their help on this project. In an effort

to understand more about this study, Dr. Matt Baker braved uncomfortable conditions,

crowded buses, weird food, and a foot-numbing 20 mile walk when he visited me in

Uaxactin. Dr. Edward Osborne provided helpful insight in preparing the final document.







A warm thanks goes to Dr. Peter Hildebrand for dropping this project in my lap,

for helping me find my way throughout the course of this research, and for providing me

with a broadened perspective on the developing world. I also owe a debt of gratitude to

Dr. Christina Gladwin and Dr. Clifton Hiebsch who, although not directly involved with

this study, played significant roles in formulating and clarifying thoughts and ideas

presented in this thesis. There is no way to repay these three people. I can only try to use

the knowledge and tools they have shared with me to help others.

I would also like to thank Janine Franco, who endured a six month separation

while I was doing this research, whose patience and understanding transcended my

impatience and grumpiness throughout the process of writing this thesis, and whose

presence in my life as a great friend and soulmate has significantly eased the trials of

graduate school.

I want to thank Amy Sullivan, who has been a great friend, sounding post for

ideas, and supporter throughout graduate school. A warm thanks goes to Victor and

Milly Cabrera, Carl and Ana Pomeroy, and all others who have become friends in the

past few years.

Last, but certainly not least, a heartfelt thanks goes to my mother, Ann Litow, and

my brothers, Jeremy and Bruce Litow, whose support, ideas, and constructively critical

reviews of my writing have substantially contributed to the quality and clarity of this

thesis.













TABLE OF CONTENTS
page

ACKNOW LEDGM ENTS ......................................................................................... iii

LIST OF TABLES .......................................................................................................... vii

LIST OF FIGURES .................................................................................................... ix

ABSTRACT ................................................................................................................ x

CHAPTERS

1 INTRODUCTION .................................................................................................. 1

Chapter Overview .................................................................................... ......... 1
General Description of the Petn ................................................................................. 2
General Description of Uaxactfin and Surrounding Areas ........................................... 5
Current Events, Concerns, and Future Issues ......................................... .............. 6
Key Components to Understand and Address Problems .......................................... 8
Significance of the Research ................................................................................... 10
Limitations of the Study ........................................................................................ 11
Research Objectives .............................................................................................. 12

2 LITERATURE REVIEW ....................................................... ............................ 15

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................ 15
Farming Systems Research and Extension ........................................... .......... ... 16
Livelihood Strategies ........................................................................................... 18
Livelihood Systems ............................................................................................... 21
The Limited-Resource Household and its Goals .................................................. 22
Gender ................................................................................................................... 23
Participatory Approaches to Conservation .............................................................. 26
W hy Participatory Approaches? ............................................................................. 27

3 STUDY M ETHODS ............................................................................................. 29

M ethods of Data Collection ..................................................... .......................... 30
Population ..................................................................................................... ....... 31









4 DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA AND LIVELIHOOD SYSTEMS .......... 33

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................ 33
The V village ........................................................................................................... 33
Property Rights .................................................................................................... 34
Clim ate and Soils ................................................................................................. 35
Soils ........................................................................................................................... 37
Dom estic Anim als ................................................................................................ 37
Diet ....................................................................................................................... 38
Division of Labor ................................................................................................. 39
Constraints to Life .............................................................................................. 40
The Local Econom y ............................................................................................ 41
Supporting Elem ents of Livelihood System s ........................................ ........... .. 41

5 RESEARCH FINDINGS ..................................................................................... 68

Chapter Overview ................................................................................................ 68
The Relative Importance of Milpa, Xate, Chicle, Allspice and Other Activities ...... 68
Linear Program m ing Objectives ................................................. ....................... 71
Results of Linear Program m ing Analyses ............................................. ....... .... 84
Sum m ary of Research Findings .............................................................................. 102
Chapter Overview .................................................................................................... 107
M ilpa .................................................................................................................. 107
Recom m endations .................................................................................................... 113

APPENDICES

A DEFINITION S ................................................................................................... 122

B CHARACTERISTICS OF MODELED HOUSEHOLDS ............................... 125

C LINEAR PROGRAM M IN G M ODEL ............................................................. 128

D M ILPA QUESTIONNAIRE .............................................................................. 149

E HOUSEHOLD CONSUMPTION AND COSTS SHEET ............................... 157

REFEREN CES ........................................................................................................ 158

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ................................................................................... 167













LIST OF TABLES


Table page

3-1. Composition of study contacts ................................................................... 32

4-1. Daily allspice harvests in pounds of undried berries ......................................... 45

4-2. Adult xatero daily harvest averages. (n=5) ................................... ........... .. 48

4-3. Child xatero daily harvest averages. (n=8) .................................... ............ 48

4-4. OMYC and local contractor xate prices as of October, 1998, in Quetzales
per gruesa ................................................................................................. 50

4-5. Chicle harvest data ......................................................................................... 54

4-6. Summ ary ofm ilpa sizes .................................................... ........................... 61

4-7. Reported maize yields in Uaxactin. (n=33) .................................... ........... 62

4-8. Opinions regarding maximum and minimum fallow cycle lengths ................. 63

4-9. Correlative relationships between household characteristics and milpa size ...... 65

4-10. Percentage of annual household caloric requirements fulfilled by maize ............ 66

5-1. The ranked importance of milpa in 1998 compared to other household
activities ................................................................................................... 69

5-2. The importance of milpa compared to other activities over time as ranked
by two groups during a Participatory Rural Appraisal session .................. 70

5-3. Summarized results of Linear Programming Scenario 1 for 1998 ................... 85

5-4. Scenario 1 summary of modeled household constraints in 1998 ..................... 86

5-5. Scenario 1 modeled milpa size compared to actual milpa size in 1998 .............. 87

5-6. Scenario 1 maize purchases in modeled households compared to actual
purchases in 1998 ........................................................................................... 88







5-7. Consumer-Producer ratios of the seven modeled households ......................... 90

5-8. Summarized results of Linear Programming Scenario 2 for the second
year ........................................................................................................... 92

5-9. Scenario 2 summary of modeled household constraints in the second year ........ 93

5-10. Summarized results of Linear Programming Scenario 3 for the second
year ........................................................................................................... 98

5-11. Scenario 3 summary of modeled household constraints in the second year ........ 99

5-12. Change in the number of household livelihood activities performed by
households when comparing the three modeled scenarios .......................... 100

5-13. Changes in household and total milpa area in Scenarios 1-3 ........................... 105

6-1. Comparison of milpa studies done in Uaxactin and similar geographical
regions .......................................................................................................... 108













LIST OF FIGURES


Figure paNe

1-1. M ap of G uatem ala ............................................................................................. 3

1-2. The Peten and the Maya Biosphere Reserve ............................................ .............. 4

4-1. Annual precipitation from January 1960-December 1968, and January
1990-A pril 1998 ........................................................................................ 36

4-2. Livelihood system diagram ............................................................................. 42

4-3. Labor calendar and division of labor .............................................................. 43

4-4. Age of guamiles slashed for milpa by 11 milperos in 1997 and 1998 ................. 64

5-1. Comparison of total male labor use from seven modeled households
across Linear Programming Scenarios 1 through 3 ................................... 104












Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Science

FOOD SECURITY AND HOUSEHOLD LIVELIHOOD STRATEGIES
IN THE MAYA BIOSPHERE RESERVE: THE IMPORTANCE OF MILPA
IN THE COMMUNITY OF UAXACTIN, PETEN, GUATEMALA

By

Paul A. Litow

May 2000

Chairman: Mathew T. Baker
Major Department: Agricultural Education and Communication

This thesis addresses the importance of milpa, or maize production via slash and

bum agriculture, to limited-resource households in Uaxactin, a village inside the Maya

Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala's Petdn. Village households participate in a number of

other livelihood activities in addition to milpa for survival, namely the harvest and sale of

non-timber forest products (NTFPs).

Milpa plays a major role in household livelihoods. In times of difficulty,

households behave in a subsistent manner, relying heavily on milpa to reduce their food

expenses and ensure food security. In times of relative prosperity, households are able to

come out of subsistence; however, they continue to invest labor in milpa even though its

importance declines somewhat relative to that of cash-generating activities.

Another central finding of this study is that households respond to changes in

their natural and socio-economic environments by varying the amount of time they invest







in these and other activities. These livelihood strategies allow households to optimize

their wellbeing and overall chances of survival. The level to which households are able

to utilize livelihood strategies depends on household composition, or the age, sex, and

physical ability of household members.

Linear programming serves as the primary analytical tool in this study. It is used

to model household behavior under three scenarios. The first simulates households'

situations in the year this research was conducted, one in which households were quite

limited in their choice of livelihood activities and strategies owing to unfavorable

ecological conditions and declining markets for NTFPs. The second scenario examines

household response to a total loss of xate, probably the most important of all NTFPs to

village households. The final scenario analyzes the possibility of local employment as an

alternative cash-earning activity.

A central tenet of this thesis is that researchers must take a multidisciplinary,

systems approach to examining household livelihood strategies. Failure to do this not

only results in an incomplete understanding of the complex livelihood strategies used by

limited-resource households, but also fails to note that households differ widely due to

their composition, relative wealth, and other factors that are masked by the averages

often created to reduce complexity and ease analysis. If researchers and development

workers are willing to accept this diversity and partner with local people in processes of

change, they are better-poised to offer useful and productive insight to those they seek to

assist.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Chapter Overview

This thesis deals with the importance ofmilpa, or maize production via slash and

bum agriculture (see Appendix A) to households in the Guatemalan community of

Uaxacttin. Because Uaxactfin is located within the borders of the Maya Biosphere

Reserve, an area where the expansion of agricultural production is not encouraged, the

question of its importance to this village's households is a particularly crucial one. While

food security per se does not appear to be a current issue for most households in this

small village, the possibility that current agricultural areas will become scarce in the

future as the village's population grows is a distinct one. This research does not propose

what direction policy on milpa should take. It will, however, hopefully provide some

perspective for those development and conservation agencies working in the village who

wish to strike a balance between agriculture, natural resource conservation, and the

wellbeing of the community's families.

In order to better understand the role agriculture plays, milpa is examined from

the perspective of household livelihood systems, or the various activities households

undertake to survive. By looking at milpa as a part of a system instead of in isolation,

this study aims to provide researchers and development professionals with a clearer

image of the interaction between milpa, other livelihood activities, and the human beings

it supports.













CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION

Chapter Overview

This thesis deals with the importance ofmilpa, or maize production via slash and

bum agriculture (see Appendix A) to households in the Guatemalan community of

Uaxacttin. Because Uaxactfin is located within the borders of the Maya Biosphere

Reserve, an area where the expansion of agricultural production is not encouraged, the

question of its importance to this village's households is a particularly crucial one. While

food security per se does not appear to be a current issue for most households in this

small village, the possibility that current agricultural areas will become scarce in the

future as the village's population grows is a distinct one. This research does not propose

what direction policy on milpa should take. It will, however, hopefully provide some

perspective for those development and conservation agencies working in the village who

wish to strike a balance between agriculture, natural resource conservation, and the

wellbeing of the community's families.

In order to better understand the role agriculture plays, milpa is examined from

the perspective of household livelihood systems, or the various activities households

undertake to survive. By looking at milpa as a part of a system instead of in isolation,

this study aims to provide researchers and development professionals with a clearer

image of the interaction between milpa, other livelihood activities, and the human beings

it supports.







General Description of the Peten

Uaxactin is located in Guatemala's Peten, its northernmost department that

shares borders with Mexico and Belize (see Figure 1-1). Although the Pet6n comprises a

third of the country's area, it was historically a backwater, ignored by the Spanish and

early Guatemalan governments because of its remoteness and inhospitable climate. Even

during the height of chicle extraction (the base used in chewing gum) from the late 1800s

until about 1945, the Peten still remained a vast and empty place (Schwartz, 1990). It

was not until the mid-1960s that government colonization began in earnest:

What had been an isolated, relatively peaceful hinterland was now an increasingly
well-populated, turbulent new frontier attracting landless campesinos
(countrymen) from crowded Guatemalan highlands and Pacific coastal regions,
well-capitalized cattlemen, foreign and national logging companies, bureaucrats,
revolutionaries, and foreign entrepreneurs eager to exploit forest resources,
including oil. (Schwartz, 1990, p. 11)

This explosive demographic growth continues, driven by severe land shortages in

the highlands and the return of refugees following Guatemala's 35 year civil war. With

official population estimates of 225,000 persons in 1994 (INE, 1996) and unofficial

estimates (Shriar, 1999, p. 72) rising in excess of 700,000, it is clear that this area will

not remain a frontier much longer.

The Pet6n covers an area of some 35,854 square kilometers (INE, 1996).

Geologically and geographically, the area found north of Lake Peten Izti is characterized

by karst topography with weathered, heavily forested hills and low, flat areas called bajos

(Wiseman, 1978). Bajos are seasonally inundated areas covered in short, dense forest.

A lake region is found in the Peten, running from west to east, and was probably

formed during the middle Tertiary age by folding and faulting (Wiseman, 1978).



















































Source: University of Texas Libraries


Figure 1-1. Map of Guatemala.












EL PETEN

AND

THE MAYA BIOSPHERE RESERVE


*


-V.'I -itr
r '-~tr

'rI -~ t1~


-P.-,


ar
1,,


SeyaxcM#~







1*t..~


*POOId

ip, Sn L~Lw


Srl:1:1,30a00


Source: CONAP, in Shriar, 1999.


Figure 1-2. The Pet6n and the Maya Biosphere Reserve.


-*^





5

The southern fault line of the Yucatan platform forms this lake region. South of

the lake region the Pet6n is predominantly savanna, becoming more forested as it rises to

meet the Alta Verapaz mountains (Schwartz, 1990).

General Description of Uaxactiin and Surrounding Areas

Uaxactin is located in the northern Peten within the borders of the Maya

Biosphere Reserve (MBR) that was designated in 1990 through a cooperative effort

between the Guatemalan government, Conservation International, and The Nature

Conservancy. The MBR (see Figure 2) consists of five national parks-Laguna del

Tigre, Tikal, Sierra Lacandon, Rio Azul, and El Mirador, and three biotopes, or

biological reserves-El Zotz, Laguna del Tigre, and Dos Lagunas-surrounded by areas

designated as a Multiple Use Zone. While permanent human settlement is not allowed

within the parks and biotopes, it is permitted in the Multiple Use Zone, or MUZ, and

sustainable extractive activities may be undertaken subject to certain regulations. Small-

scale agriculture and regulated exploitation of above and below-ground resources are also

allowable in the MUZ. The southern edges of the MBR border a buffer zone originally

meant to create a transitional area between populated areas to the south and the

biosphere. Unfortunately, the buffer zone has been the scene of uncontrolled settlement

and is deforested in many areas. The MBR covers more than 1.6 million hectares (ha),

extends into Mexico and Belize, and is the largest contiguous tract of tropical forest left

within Central America.

Uaxactin is located in the MUZ some 83 km north of Flores, the department's

capital, and is a small, relatively isolated community of 136 families (Organizaci6n

Manejo y Conservaci6n, 1998, p. 1). The village lies along an unpaved road running.

from Tikal National Park, 24 kilometers to the south, to the Mexican border some 100







kilometers to the north. The road to Tikal is semi-maintained and is usually open to all

traffic except for brief periods during the rainy season. To the north of the village it is

not maintained and is little more than a narrow, one-vehicle path that is impassible by

most vehicles for the extent of the rainy season. It is widely used by villagers, however,

as it links them to the surrounding forest via numerous footpaths and old logging roads

branching from it.

Uaxactin was originally the center of a Maya city state from about 278 to 889

A.D. (Smith, 1950, cited in McNab, 1999, p.15). Contemporary presence of man

followed in the late 1800s and early 1900s when Uaxactun was used as a chicle camp

called "El Bambunal." Formal legal establishment of the village occurred around 1931,

and today most families base their livelihoods upon a combination of hunting, wild

allspice (Pimenta officinalis) harvesting, xate cutting, an understory palm of the

Chamaedora species, chicle (Manilkara zapota) extraction, used as a base for chewing

gum, and milpa, or slash and bum agriculture. Xate, pronounced shah-te, is cut, sold, and

exported to the U.S. and Europe for use in the floral and funerary industries. Allspice is

also an export product, used as a condiment and as a pickling ingredient.

Current Events, Concerns, and Future Issues

Uaxactfin was awarded an 83,558 ha Community Forest Concession in early 1998

by the Guatemalan government, formally giving the community management and

usufruct rights to all above-ground resources. Under the terms of the concession, the

community must meet government requirements (outlined in McNab, 1999) for

managing the area and pay a lease fee of $142,049 over a 10 year period. Taxation of

some non-timber forest product (NTFP) sales is currently generating income for payment





7

of the lease fee and management of the concession area. The community is also pursuing

other income-generating possibilities such as ecotourism and small local industry.

As Uaxact6n moves forward in the concession management process, multiple

concerns exist about the future of the area it now must responsibly manage. In late 1997,

large areas of the MUZ, including parts of Uaxactin's concession area, were opened up

to oil exploration and exploitation, and in early 1998, the possibility of a paved road

running through Uaxactin to the Mexican border surfaced. Both raised concerns that

large influxes of people to the area could occur, complicating Uaxactufn's administrative

responsibilities and posing significant threats to the area's natural ecology.

The village's growth itself raises questions about whether the area's resources can

sustain Uaxactin's families in the future. The community has also grown from 182

persons in 1965 (Urrutia, 1967, p. 40) to 681 in 1997 (Organizaci6n Manejo y

Conservaci6n, 1998, p. 1) and currently has an internal annual growth rate of

approximately 3.6% per year. Villagers note, for example, that xate and wildlife

populations have declined in areas closer to the village, a possible symptom of over-

exploitation, and McNab's research (1999) concludes that wildlife populations far from

the village are adversely affected by the presence of xate and chicle harvesters. In-

migration of newcomers to Uaxacttin notwithstanding, there is little question that the

community's own population growth will someday threaten the area's natural resource

base. The stability of the agricultural system itself may also be negatively affected, as

current rates of the village's population growth, combined with the number of households

which choose to raise maize in any given year (76 households had milpas in 1998),

indicate that land shortages are possible within twenty years.







Because soil fertility is regained by leaving land in fallow for a number of years

before being returned to crops, increasing population forces a decrease in fallow periods,

and thus crop yields, as the land base per family shrinks. Expansion of agricultural areas

is probably unlikely owing to a moratorium on clearing growth more than 20 years old.

In short, barring a shift away from slash and burn agriculture to a more intensive

agricultural system--or from agriculture altogether-families' long term food security

may be negatively affected.

The Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) has consistently worked with

Uaxacttin for several years throughout the concession solicitation process as well as in

wildlife conservation. Presently it partners with two other Non-Governmental

Organizations (NGOs) to assist the community in the areas of technology transfer,

training, and all aspects of concession management.

In light of the plausible environmental ramifications and cloudy legal issues

surrounding agricultural expansion in the MUZ, WCS wished to learn the extent to which.

village households depend on milpa. While milpa was generally perceived to be a

subsistence activity, much about its importance to household livelihoods was not

understood prior to this research. Wildlife Conservation Society felt that a better

understanding of its specific characteristics, as well as how its importance to household

livelihood security has changed over time, would allow it to more effectively serve the

community's interests and needs and address agricultural issues should they arise.

Key Components to Understand and Address Problems

To determine a course of action, in-depth knowledge of households' livelihood

systems, livelihood strategies, and compositions is paramount. A livelihood system "is a

dynamic realm that integrates both the opportunities and assets available to a group of





9

people for achieving their goals and aspirations as well as interactions with and exposure

to a range of beneficial or harmful ecological, social, economic, and political

perturbations that may help or hinder groups' capacities to make a living" (Hoon, Singh

& Wanmali, 1997, p. 5). Wells, Brandon and Hannah (1992) found that in many cases,

programs of planned change fail because planners do not understand how livelihood

systems work.

Livelihood systems, then, are essentially sets of livelihood activities which

households undertake in response to changes in the bio-physical, social, or cultural

environments with which they interact. The manner or level to which households alter

their participation in livelihood activities are household livelihood strategies. These

strategies are elaborate coping mechanisms that allow households to effectively deal with

their unpredictable environments (Fujisaka, Wortmann & Adamassu, 1996). As flexible

and effective as these strategies may be, introducing new innovations or other forms of

change are extremely complicated matters as they rarely can address the breadth of a

problem without unintentionally upsetting the complicated interrelationships between the

strategies employed.

An understanding of how the internal makeup of a household, or its composition,

affects livelihood strategies is crucial. Household composition is important in that it

determines how much labor a household has available for productive activities and how

much food and cash it needs to survive, among other things. Households with many

youngsters who cannot contribute to household production, for example, are more

vulnerable to changes in their livelihood systems than those replete with older members.

This study examines household livelihood strategies in a holistic manner rather

than examining one or more in isolation. By examining them from a broad perspective,





10

this research is better able to define what livelihood strategies households use to survive

and sustain themselves, why they use them, and how they use them.

Significance of the Research

This study was undertaken to determine the relative importance of milpa to

households within the context of household livelihood systems. This study also seeks to

determine if milpa's relative importance as a livelihood strategy changes as intra-and

extra-household conditions change. For example, how critical was milpa to village

households in 1998, a year in which there were generally fewer possibilities for them to

earn cash? How might its relative importance change among households that are more

focused on earning cash versus those focusing on subsistence? Does its relative

importance change in "good years" when households are able to earn cash?

Looking at milpa in isolation however, will mask its relationships with household

composition, other household livelihood activities, and its use as a livelihood strategy.

Because resource-poor farm (and non-farm) households typically depend on a basket of

options and resources to enhance their economic, social, and food security, an

understanding of each element's essentiality within that basket is cardinal to creating

effective problem-solving measures. Milpa's importance may change from one year to

the next, depending on the factors which affect how households use their basket of

options. Drought, for example, may not change a family's perception that milpa is most

important overall, but it will likely change its relative importance for that given year.

This research also examines overall household behavior in the face of

environmental change and economic variation (in terms of markets for non-timber forest

products). Paying particular attention to household livelihood systems and strategies,

households are modeled to see how their behavior changes in response to three different







scenarios. Modeling also suggests to what level household composition affects

participation in livelihood activities as well as the use of livelihood strategies.

It is hoped that results of these analyses will provide WCS and other agencies

assisting Uaxactin with a better understanding of how village households function as

well as the sorts of constraints they face. The researcher also hopes that this study will

provide these agencies with some perspective on developing programs of planned change

as well as creating realistic options for improving villagers' wellbeing.

Limitations of the Study

It should be recognized that this study is limited in some aspects.

1. The study encompasses a wide variation of topics and livelihood activities in

addition to milpa in an effort to understand its importance and role within

household livelihood systems. Thus, the study does not focus specifically upon

milpa.

2. Due to time constraints and environmental conditions (drought), data are lacking

for chicle extraction, allspice harvesting, and other activities undertaken between

the months of January to July (the study was conducted from late July through

mid-December.

3. Generally speaking, sample sizes are small in terms of descriptive data gathered

on milpa and the number of households modeled using linear programming.







Research Objectives

Objective 1

To ascertain the relative importance ofmilpa compared to other household

livelihood activities, namely harvesting ofallspice, chicle, xate, and cash employment, to

Uaxactzn familiese.

In order to determine the role of milpa and its relative importance, five research

questions must be answered:

1. How do households view milpa's importance relative to their other activities,

and is its importance static or dynamic?

2. Is milpa a subsistence or commercial activity?

3. What are its characteristics in terms of size, yield, and fallow cycle?

4. How much milpa do households need?

5. How much maize do households consume?

Objective 2

To examine the response of modeled households to three different scenarios in

terms of

1. How household livelihood strategies react to introduced stressors (e.g., a

change in the natural environment, a shift in marketsfor non-timber forest

products, and a new option for employment).

2. How household composition affects use of household livelihood strategies, if

at all, in these three scenarios.

The knowledge gained from Objectives 1 and 2 will be given to Uaxactin's

community leaders and the three NGOs assisting the village. The recommendations and

information provided in this study will hopefully be used to implement programs of





13

planned changed and enhance the adaptability of innovations developed for or introduced

in this community.

Without a clear understanding of Objectives 1 and 2, those agencies assisting

Uaxactin with programs of planned change, technology generation, and technology

transfer may not have enough information to avoid the sorts of mistakes and failures that

not only frustrate change agencies and villagers (Place, 1998), but that can upset the

complex survival strategies of limited resource households (Fujisaka, Wortmann &

Adamassu, 1996). Villagers understand their livelihoods and know their needs,

capabilities, and limitations. Their perspective of the interrelationships between these

factors is often limited, however, because they are so intensely focused on their everyday

struggles to survive. Researchers, development workers, and outside observers can often

provide that needed perspective.

In the same sense, though, outsiders often cannot decipher the codes of local

people's livelihood systems. They assume these systems are simple, static, and similar to

what they already know (Chambers, 1997). They often base their programming decisions

and technology development on averages, standard deviations, and other reductionist

quantitative methods, assuming they can explain the complexities of a system "by

aggregating separately-obtained sets of knowledge of the nature and working of its

individual parts" (Cadwell & Christian, 1996, p. 34). In doing so they underestimate and

misinterpret villagers needs, capabilities, and limitations, causing untold frustration on

their part as well as stakeholders. This frustration is usually attributed to questionable

motivation on the part of non-adopting "recalcitrant and irrational" clients (Vanclay &

Lawrence, 1994) and rarely, if ever, to questionable perspective on the part of

development professionals, researchers, or extensionists (Chambers, 1997).





14

In contrast, this investigation strives to embrace diversity in hopes of providing a

clearer picture of how households function and how their situations, strategies, and

constraints affect their efforts to survive. The researcher went to great lengths to include

as many facets of livelihood strategies and household functions as possible. Particular

attention was given to the social and cultural relationships that bind this village's

households into a community, to their natural environment, and to the world outside the

village. These pains were taken not only to provide an example of how a balanced

picture can be painted, but also with the hope that other researchers, development

organizations, and conservation agencies will see that local people can and should be

included in processes of research and planned change.












CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Chapter Overview

The problems brought on by a growing population and its need for food on the

one hand, offset by the need to conserve natural resources on the other, is a critical issue

in the Pet6n. Uaxactfin faces many of the same challenges. Now that expansion of

agricultural areas is restricted within the Multiple Use Zone (MUZ) of the Maya

Biosphere Reserve (MBR), questions are being asked about the importance of milpa

agriculture to village families. While researchers have written about milpa's typical size,

productivity, and the level to which it can support large populations in the Pet6n

(Cowgill, 1962; Urrutia, 1967; Schwartz, 1990), its relative importance to household

livelihood systems-when compared to all activities that support a household-has only

been addressed to limited extents (Reina, 1967). Furthermore, there is an incomplete

understanding of how changes within the household and elements outside of it affect

milpa production.

The methodology or groups of methodologies used to conduct research (and

ultimately generate recommendations) must, therefore, be able to handle elements

internal and external to the household. Also known as Farming Systems Research (FSR)

or On-Farm Client-Oriented Research (OFCOR), (Tripp, 1991; International Service for

National Agricultural Research, 1989b) among others, this chapter presents a literature

review of Farming Systems Research and Extension, the umbrella approach used to












CHAPTER 2
LITERATURE REVIEW

Chapter Overview

The problems brought on by a growing population and its need for food on the

one hand, offset by the need to conserve natural resources on the other, is a critical issue

in the Pet6n. Uaxactfin faces many of the same challenges. Now that expansion of

agricultural areas is restricted within the Multiple Use Zone (MUZ) of the Maya

Biosphere Reserve (MBR), questions are being asked about the importance of milpa

agriculture to village families. While researchers have written about milpa's typical size,

productivity, and the level to which it can support large populations in the Pet6n

(Cowgill, 1962; Urrutia, 1967; Schwartz, 1990), its relative importance to household

livelihood systems-when compared to all activities that support a household-has only

been addressed to limited extents (Reina, 1967). Furthermore, there is an incomplete

understanding of how changes within the household and elements outside of it affect

milpa production.

The methodology or groups of methodologies used to conduct research (and

ultimately generate recommendations) must, therefore, be able to handle elements

internal and external to the household. Also known as Farming Systems Research (FSR)

or On-Farm Client-Oriented Research (OFCOR), (Tripp, 1991; International Service for

National Agricultural Research, 1989b) among others, this chapter presents a literature

review of Farming Systems Research and Extension, the umbrella approach used to





16

conduct this research. For the purposes of this study, approach is defined as the group of

methodologies used to investigate and solve problems. The methodologies used in an

approach are not set in stone, but may be combined in various complementary ways, thus

creating a powerful diagnostic and problem-solving tool (International Service for

National Agricultural Research, 1989a; Ruonavaara, 1996). Additionally, the similarity

and differences between concepts of farming systems and livelihood systems, are defined

and discussed, as livelihood systems are considered the more appropriate and inclusive

concept of the two discussed in this research. Next, the use of household composition

and gender analysis as analytical devices to expand the scope and strength of the FSR/E

approach are discussed as well. Finally, the need to use multidisciplinary, participatory,

stakeholder-based approaches (such as FSR/E) in natural resource conservation discussed

as this research was conducted in an area of Guatemala where researchers, development

organizations, and local people are searching for a balance between local livelihoods and

outsiders' conservation efforts.

Farming Systems Research and Extension

The Green Revolution of the 1960s stands as one of the most profound changes

agriculture in the developing world has ever undergone. Indeed, it provided technologies

which brought a measure of food security to some of the most populous countries on

earth. Relatively soon after Green Revolution innovations were diffused, though, it

became apparent that adoption had not occurred over large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa,

Latin America, and Asia. A closer look revealed a growing gap between resource-

endowed farmers, who were able to access, afford, and apply the necessary amounts of

water, fertilizers, and pesticides needed by the new, high yielding varieties, and resource-

poor farmers who could not and thus did not adopt the new technologies and farming






17

practices (Whyte, 1986). It was the frustration "over partial or complete failure of other

approaches in developing technology for farming families located in relatively

unfavorable environments" (Norman, 1983, p. 7) and "a concern with small-scale family

farmers who generally reap a disproportionately small share of the benefits of organized

research, extension, and other developmental activities" (Hildebrand & Waugh, 1986, p.

12) that gave birth to the approach called "Farming Systems" in the 1970s.

Prior to in-depth discussion of the Farming Systems approach, the term "farming

system" must be defined. Shaner, Philipp, and Schmehl (1982) define a farming system

as:

[A] unique and relatively stable arrangement of farming enterprises that the
household manages according to well-defined practices in response to the
physical, biological, and socio-economic environments and in accordance with
the household's goals, preferences and resources. These factors combine to
influence output and production methods. (p. 16)

Norman's (1983) definition of a farming system provides an extensive set of

determinants, but three of them suffice. First, there is an overlap between consumption

and production in the family. The means of livelihood and the household as a unit "are

intimately linked and cannot be separated" (Norman, p. 7). Second, the household adopts

a particular farming system based on its members' managerial know-how, and allocates

available land, labor, and capital to crops, livestock, and off-farm enterprises in an effort

to achieve its goalss. Third, a farming system is determined by the environment in

which the household operates. Norman posits this environment is comprised of technical

(physical and biological) and human (social, cultural, external support systems and

institutions, location, population density, etc.) elements. He further argues that since

most limited resource households cannot alter their technical, or bio-physical,







environment, their human or socio-economic environment is forced to respond to the

technical environment. The human response is manifested in livelihood strategies.

Livelihood Strategies

If a farming system is a set of elements, or activities, which a household uses to

respond to changes in its bio-physical or socio-economic environments, then the extent to

which these activities are employed and the combination of activities utilized for survival

are household livelihood strategies (Devereux, 1999). These strategies allow limited-

resource households to alter their production practices, allocate and use their resources to

meet their changing needs, and to survive shocks stemming from changes in their bio-

physical and socio-economic environments (Hoon, Singh & Wanmali, 1997).

The function of livelihood strategies becomes clearer with a description of the

limited-resource household:

1. Agricultural and other production activities are usually not "purely"

commercial ventures, but subsistence measures in that some of the

production is obtained on the farm for consumption use by the household

and, in addition, cash earnings are used to support the household. This

means that the household is not fully integrated into the market economy,

and as a result functions somewhat independently of it.

2. As a function of the previous point, this means that the household tends to be

risk-averse, and thus diversifies its livelihood activities to spread that risk

and ensure an acceptable level of food security and economic wellbeing.1

3. Finally, limited-resource households typically have multiple goals, a function

of risk aversion, which may or may not be related to profit maximization


'"Acceptable" levels of wellbeing are defined by the household.







(Chambers, 1997; Norman, Worman, Siebert, Modiakgotia, 1995; Perrot-

Maitre & Weaver, 1992). Agricultural production and off-farm food or cash-

generating activities are not separate enterprises for profit, then, but are

inexorably linked to the household.

It is important to note that livelihood strategies are affected by economic and

other socio-economic elements outside the household. While the household evaluates the

possible outcomes of its activities, it also bases its production decisions (agricultural or

otherwise) on other factors, such as social relations to the community (Deere, 1990, as

cited in Porro 1997, pp. 51-2). These social relations (in the form of social groups) can

affect household access to collectively-owned natural resources (Ellis, 1988) as well as

the intensity with which households exploit those resources (Toledo, 1990). Households

also respond to stimuli emanating from outside the community, such as the influx of

economic opportunity or the cultural and economic values of capitalist society (Kearney,

1996, as cited in Porro, 1997). Porro himself concluded that Deere's interpretation more

adequately describes household behavior in cases where capitalism has not penetrated to

a large extent, while Kearney's interpretation aptly fits capitalistic systems. In

conclusion, a household's livelihood system is constantly redesigned as external elements

force it to re-evaluate its production decisions.

The Farming Systems Research-Extension Approach

Given the fact that livelihood systems and household strategies are so diverse, it

is very difficult to address their complexity within the bounds of traditional research and

extension programs. Chambers (1997) finds that traditional, questionnaire-based

analyses consistently oversimplify the focus of study by limiting the scope of data

collection and tend to reconfirm what researchers already believe to be true about the







subject of research at hand. Tripp (1991) similarly argues that research and extension

efforts that limit the focus to "any one enterprise without understanding its place in the

system is unlikely to produce successful results" (p. 3). The inevitable outcomes are

technology or programs of planned change developed according to researcher-not

stakeholder-criteria. The FSR/E approach is quite different in that analysis and

problem solving are accomplished from the perspective of farming households, by their

criteria, and in accordance with their limitations (International Service for National

Agricultural Research, 1989a).

The FSR/E approach differs from more traditional research and extension

programs in four ways. First, it draws upon a range of disciplines and methodologies,

enabling researchers and extensionists to more completely understand the farming system

being addressed as well as the technical and human elements affecting it (Bodley, 1986;

Rhoades, 1986, Veach, 1996). Secondly, FSR/E actively involves farm families as

participants in defining problems and determining feasible solutions. Norman (1983)

found that farmers are rational managers, that they are active experimenters, and that they

have a very complete grasp of the complex farming systems in which they live and work.

Arguing that farmers and their families are better situated than researchers and

extensionists to decide upon the best path of development, Norman suggests that

outcomes of research and extension (R&E) efforts based on farmer participation will be

more attuned to the requirements and limitations of resource-poor farm households.

Third, the FSR/E approach directly involves farmers in the generation and

evaluation of new technologies, or in the improvement or adaptation of previously-

developed technologies and practices to the situation at hand (International Service for

National Agricultural Research, 1989a). This takes place under the varied and





21

uncontrolled conditions of the farm and, perhaps most importantly, innovations are tested

by farmers and evaluated according to farmers' (and their families') criteria (Hildebrand

& Russell, 1996). This is not to say that applied research conducted on agricultural

experiment stations is no longer necessary, for there are often questions and problems

that cannot be tested or evaluated under on-farm conditions (Hildebrand & Russell,

1996).

The final outcomes of this adaptive research and development approach, then, are

more likely to be appropriate for farmers who participated in the technology-

development process, as well as farmers within the same recommendation domain, the

fourth difference between FSR/E and traditional R&E programs. Traditionally, research

and development outcomes are disseminated to all farming households as one extension

message (Lionberger, 1982). Farming Systems Research and Extension programs,

however, target multiple audiences grouped into research and recommendation domains.

According to Hildebrand (1986a), a domain is a groups[] of farmers with roughly

similar practices and circumstances for whom a given recommendation will be broadly

appropriate. It is a stratification of farmers, not area" (p.52). For each research domain,

the process of research and development takes place as described above. Following

research and testing outcomes, each recommendation domain receives a unique extension

message embodied in the technology and/or practices developed specifically for it.

Livelihood Systems

The FSR/E approach can be used in non-agricultural systems in which limited-

resource households are found (Veach, 1996). However the terminology and concept of

a "farming system" is broadened for the purposes of this thesis in order to more aptly

describe the system by which Uaxactin's villagers live and work. Since the majority of





22

village households support themselves by raising maize and harvesting NTFPs, a broader

term is needed to encompass the scope of household activities in Uaxactfin.

As such, the term farming system will be modified to livelihood system. A

livelihood system "is a dynamic realm that integrates both the opportunities and assets

available to a group of people for achieving their goals and aspirations as well as

interactions with and exposure to a range of beneficial or harmful ecological, social,

economic, and political perturbations that may help or hinder groups' capacities to make

a living" (Hoon, et al., 1997, p. 5). These opportunities and assets may or may not be

agricultural in nature.

The Limited-Resource Household and its Goals

The household as defined by Weismantel (1987) is a "social unit defined by co-

residence" as well as "a set of ongoing economic activities, a relation of production,

consumption and reproduction" (p. 56). Echoing Chayanov (1986), Weismantel stresses

that among limited-resource households, social reproduction of the unit via division into

new households is the priority, calling it "a constant and intrinsic aspect of household

formation itself" (p.56) that ensures survival over time.

Central to the idea of a household is that households are engaged in some

combination of production, distribution (including pooling, sharing, exchange, and

consumption), transmission (trusteeship and intergenerational transfer of property),

biological and social reproduction, and co-residence (shared activity in constructing,

maintaining, and occupying a dwelling) (Wilk & Netting, 1984).

Although cash plays a more important role in some systems than others (Porro,

1997), the household's primary objective is renewal rather than profit maximization

(Weismantel, 1987). Household food and cash needs are determined by the number, age







and gender of members, and it meets those needs by manipulating its primary

resource-labor-to increase or decrease its agricultural production or off-farm earnings

(Chayanov, 1986). The degree to which the household utilizes its labor is determined by

the balance between "an annual output adequate for its basic needs" on the one hand and

point at which "the possible increase in output is outweighed by the irksomeness or the

extra work" (Thorer, 1986, p. xvi). In other words, many limited resource households

do not operate under the capitalist objective of profit maximization (Shanin, 1986) but

one of subsistence survival (Thomer, 1986).

Since labor is the primary resource of limited-resource households, we may infer

that the household's need to provide for its members changes as its labor pool fluctuates.

Chayanov (1986) coined the term "consumer/producer ratio," literally the number of

those consuming the household's output to those contributing to its production. This

ratio indicates the number of non-contributing members versus contributing members,

but does not indicate anything about their age, gender or physical ability. Analysis of a

household must, therefore, examine the composition of the household in addition to the

consumer-producer (C/P) ratio.

Gender

While factors such as age, physical ability (in terms of participation in household

activities), and economic contribution of household members are usually accounted for in

household analyses, the impact of gender in the household is often missed or vastly

underreported (Deere & Le6n, 1987). This is due to the fact that studies often focus on

the role of males as breadwinners and agricultural producers in the household, paying

little if any attention to the effects of gender on household function and wellbeing (Deere

& Le6n de Leal, 1982).





24

The term gender, according to Oakley, in Quisumbing (1996), implies the socially

defined relationships between women and men while the term sex describes biological

differences between males and females. The nature of gender relationships varies greatly

from social system to social system and culture to culture, creating distinct roles and

responsibilities often referred to as gender roles or the sexual division of labor (Deere &

Le6n de Leal, 1982).

Traditional analyses have often missed the fact that women often do not have

access to resources needed for an innovation to work, or access to the output of that

innovation (Spindel, 1987). Policy and programs are often based upon data measuring

the economic output of households, which usually measure male activities while

disregarding female contributions. Deere and Le6n de Leal (1982) note, for example,

that gender analyses based on census data from six Andean countries consistently

underreported women's roles in agricultural production because: a) the definition of

agricultural production was narrowed to crop production, thus missing women's roles in

livestock production and processing of agricultural products; b) women's contribution to

production activities was based on their (socially defined) perceptions of primary

occupation rather than actual measured participation; and, c) minimum time requirements

for women's participation in agricultural activities were used to determine whether they

were "economically active" (p. 11) household members. Those women working for less

time than defined as significant were considered economically inactive household

members.

Thus, women's roles often go unseen (Phillips, 1987). Household analyses

assuming that men are the primary producers and household heads, for example, miss the

fact that women are often heads of households, that they are often the primary food







producers or cash generators, and that there are often multiple income streams in a

household with more than one source and destination. Analyses which disaggregate

gender roles and responsibilities are needed to provide clear pictures of how households

work. Thomas-Slayter and Rocheleau (1995) state that "gender analysis of rights,

responsibilities, labor, knowledge, and authority helps clarify the indefinite boundaries of

household and family. It illuminates the complex ways family, household, community,

and ecosystem are linked" (p. 7). Sims-Feldstein, Poats, Cloud, and Huisinga-Norem

(1989) list several kinds of analyses used to uncover the role of gender in households and

to see how and to whom benefits accrue. This knowledge is critical for considering how

programs of change will (or will not) impact women. Typically these sorts of analyses

determine who does what, what resources are needed to perform each activity, who

controls access to those resources, and who benefits from the outcome of each activity. It

has also been found that that women's roles change with shifts in socio-economic

conditions (Deere & Le6n de Leal, 1982; Safa, 1995), as government policy changes

(Safa, 1995), and as households themselves change (Noponen, 1990). This suggests that

gender analysis must be an ongoing process, an integrated part of both program design

and evaluation.

Gender analysis can (and must) be assimilated into the FSR/E approach (Sims-

Feldstein et al., 1989). Its inclusion not only paints a more accurate picture of how

limited-resource households function, but provides an effective guide for developing

programs specifically designed to benefit women (Butler-Flora, 1987).







Participatory Approaches to Conservation

We have seen the importance of using multidisciplinary and participatory

approaches for solving problems in limited-resource livelihood systems. The same may

be said for addressing issues pertaining to environmental conservation (Schmink, 1999),

particularly so in terms of the (often) contrasting needs and objectives of local people

versus those of conservation program developers and administrators.

In response to the environmental dilemmas brought on by population growth in

especially ecologically diverse areas, governments have often taken the step of removing

communities to buffer zones and other areas outside established reserves. This practice

of resettlement has proven to be quite problematic if not ineffectual (Ghimire, 1991).

Families are often placed into areas with little land, few resources or support, which

severely threatens their food security and economic livelihoods. Driven into deeper

poverty by forced relocation, households often trespass in protected areas to exploit

forest products at increased levels, no longer having any reason to manage them wisely.

Recognizing that "conservation and development are directly interrelated" and

that "one cannot be isolated from the other nor be resolved independently of each other"

(Roling, 1995, p.3), new approaches to conservation programs all over the world have led

to the use of participatory approaches as a tool for addressing the complex human issues

revolving around conservation measures in a participatory manner (Schmink, 1999).

Schmink, Redford, and Padoch (1992) note that many conservationists now recognize

that traditional users of local resources have intimate knowledge about the ecosystems in

which they live and seek to incorporate that knowledge in efforts to balance the

necessities of livelihood with natural resource conservation. Local people are seen as

assets rather than barriers to planning sustainable resource use and preservation.







Several examples illustrate the applicability of participatory, stakeholder-based

approaches such as FSR/E to natural resource conservation and use. Sanchez (1993)

relates sustainable management practices to policy decisions aimed at preventing the

need for further deforestation. His analysis dovetails with the goal of FSR/E, defined by

Norman et al. (1995) as increasing the productivity of a farming system by: a) developing

and disseminating improved technologies within the farming system's constraints, and,

b) influencing the development of relevant support policies and support systems of

outside institutions.

Addison-Posey (1992) underscores the need to use multidisciplinary teams of

researchers to help provide a complete picture of what is going on in indigenous

livelihood systems, thus mitigating the effects and mistakes of a "pure scientific

approach" (p. 31). Clay (1988, p. 24) notes how "beliefs and values would ultimately

determine the acceptability of choices of new cultivars" among indigenous peoples,

suggesting the need to include them in the research and development process. Poole

(1993) likewise recognizes the "important role which indigenous communities could play

in biodiversity protection" (p. 15). Noting that historically their presence "in habitats of

critical importance for biodiversity protection has served as a guarantee for protection"

(p. 14), Poole underscores that their knowledge of local ecology is an invaluable and

irreplaceable resource in participatory conservation efforts.

Why Participatory Approaches?

Discussing interactions between local people and development organizations in,

Brazil's Jati National Park, Oliveira and Anderson (1999) note that community

participation in developing and carrying out the area's management plans is an essential

component of successful conservation strategies. Barborak (1998) stresses the need to





28

involve the people of buffer zone communities adjoining the Maya Biosphere Reserve in

Guatemala's Pet6n in planning and programming measures. Arguing that local people

have largely been spectators of past development efforts, he stipulates that researchers

must recognize them as stakeholders in a process that affects their lives. Barborak

further notes that although rural people are continuously looking for ways to improve

their situations, solutions must be "compatible with their customs and normal practices"

(p. 214) if they are to be acceptable. The only way to assure this, he concludes, is for

conservationists to stop believing that "they know what is best for park neighbors" and

"truly listen to the knowledge, opinions, needs, wants, and priorities of local residents"

(p. 214).

At the regional level (Guatemala, Mexico, and Belize), a working group

concluded that "lacking funds, and political willingness to enforce such enclosures

[reserves], governments must...permit people to become involved in a responsible

manner in decisions about the use of natural resources, both inside and outside protected

areas" (Conservation International, 1996, p. 30).

In conclusion, it is recognized that participatory approaches are best suited for

finding the balance between sustaining local livelihoods, conservationist efforts, and

rural development (Ghai, 1988; IUCN-The World Conservation Union, 1996; Chambers,

1997; Barborak, 1998; Oliveira & Anderson, 1999; Schmink, 1999). These

multidisciplinary approaches, such as FSR/E, can address the diversity and complexity of

mixed-strategy livelihood systems (Veach, 1996). Holistic approaches are not only the

key to understanding and analyzing these systems, but also for developing effective

solutions to local problems (Cabrera, 1999; Bastidas, 1999; Anderson, 2000; McIlvaine-

Newsad, 2000; Pomeroy, 2000; Sullivan, 2000).













CHAPTER 3
STUDY METHODS

Research for this investigation was carried out from July to December of 1998.

Data gathered were used not only to build a qualitative understanding of how livelihood

systems in Uaxactin work but to descriptively and quantitatively model how households

function. This step completed, it is possible not only to report households' current

dependence upon milpa agriculture but to predict with some confidence whether and how

its importance changes over time.

Linear programming forms the backbone of analysis in this study. Linear

programming is a method of maximizing the outcome of one or more objectives relative

to the constraints placed upon those objectives. To exemplify this, let us consider a

household that wishes to maximize its food production (Objective 1) while generating a

certain amount of cash (Objective 2). The linear program (LP) considers how much

labor, land, and cash and other resources the household has available. It then considers

how much of those resources the household must use to function at some defined level.

Finally, the LP calculates how much food and cash can be generated using resources

available above and beyond household needs.

Linear programming outcomes were compared to descriptive statistical

information on milpa and qualitative observations of household livelihood strategies

gathered during research. The intention of this exercise was twofold: (a) to validate the

LP's accuracy; and (b) to show that its use, combined with an in-depth qualitative








knowledge of the livelihood system, can explain why household reliance on milpa and

other elements of the livelihood system change over time.

Descriptive statistics were also utilized to (a) provide basic information about the

importance of milpa agriculture compared to other household activities; (b) describe

milpa size, yield, and other characteristics; (c) report how many households had milpa in

the study year; and (d) determine whether milpa agriculture is a subsistence or

commercial activity.

Methods of Data Collection

Direct observation, informal individual interviews, Rapid Rural Appraisal (RRA),

Participatory Rural Appraisal (PRA) and formal questionnaires were used to gather

information about household livelihood systems and strategies, the relative importance of

activities comprising those systems, and resources used and produced by household

activities.

Direct observation was used to provide background information to the researcher

and also served to dissolve barriers of suspicion and open up conversations. Regular

visits to households, milpas, and a xate camp provided wide and in-depth insights into

daily activities carried out by all household members as well as the intensity of those

activities.

Most of the data gathered over the course of this study came from informal

interviews conducted daily. This method was extremely effective as villagers were

somewhat suspicious of the researcher's objectives. The conversational style eliminated

the unspoken perception that something was being "taken" from people and allowed

much room for lateral reflection on the researcher's and subject's part. All information








given during interviews in Uaxactin was considered relevant. Interviewees often

brought up topics that the researcher had not considered discussing, and provided him

with important information about the activities and strategies employed to sustain their

livelihoods.

Rapid Rural Appraisal is another informal interviewing technique that may be

conducted with an individual or group by one or more researchers. Also known as

sondeo (Hildebrand, 1986b) or agroecosystem analysis (Chambers. 1997), interviews are

planned with a specific topic or topics in mind, but the researchers) asks questions in an

open-ended fashion and avoids limiting the conversation's scope. One PRA session with

31 participants was held at the end of the research period to substantiate information

collected during the preceding months. Participants were asked to rank the importance of

various activities supporting their families, identify problems faced by their families, and

develop solutions to those problems. Information shared by participants appears in this

study and was also given to the community before the researcher left.

Finally, a combination of questionnaires and formal interviews was used to gather

all facets of information regarding milpa agriculture and household expenses for the

linear program. All questions were open-ended.

Population

A wide variation of adults and children of both genders provided the data used in

this study. All but two of these persons were from Uaxactin. A total of 107 contacts

were made, the composition of which is seen in Table 3-1. Excepting the two individuals

who were not community members, all others were members of 49 separate households.

Three of the 49 households (6.1%) \were headed by females, 42 were male-headed







32

(85.7%), and 1 (2%) was dual-headed. Gender of household head in the remaining 6.1%

was unclear.

Table 3-1. Composition of study contacts. (n=107)

Adult Males Adult Female Male Children Female Children Total Contacts

45 32 23 7 107



Six households provided the majority of data used in the linear program developed as

part of this investigation. Where information on the six primary households \vas

incomplete data gathered from the other 43 households was used.

Methods of Data Analysis

Linear programming and statistical analyses were carried out using Microsoft

Excel SR-2. All graphics were created using Microsoft Excel SR-2. Qualitative

information taken from informal interviews was categorized by subject. Quantitative

data was extracted from these subjects and was used in the linear program, some of the

descripti\ e statistics on milpa and other livelihood activities, and a 1998 baseline ranking

ofmilpa's importance to households. Qualitative data provided the description of

li\ elihood systems in this village. descriptions of household composition, and was used

to substantiate household behavior in linear programming scenarios in concert with

quantitative data.














CHAPTER 4
DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA AND LIVELIHOOD SYSTEMS

Chapter Overview

Prior to presenting specific research findings in Chapter 5, a description of the

village, the surrounding area, climate, land tenure and other socio-cultural characteristics,

and household livelihood systems, is given here to provide an understanding of what the

place and its people are like.

The Village

UaxactCn is located some 83 km north of Flores, the Petdn's capital, and a little

over 100 km south of the Mexican border. It is a relatively isolated community lying

along an unpaved road running north from Tikal National Park to the Mexican border.

Most of the village lies on either side of an old airstrip constructed in the late 1930s to

transport people, supplies, and chicle in and out of the area before the road was opened

up in the 1970s.

Results of a March 1997 census show a total of 136 families in the village. Total

population is reported as 681 inhabitants. A detailed breakdown of total population

reveals: 158 adult males (23%), 132 adult females (19%), 216 male children (320o), and

175 female children (26%). Average household size is 5 persons. This is an increase of

124 (18%) persons over the results of a pre% ious census taken in 1992 (Organizaci6n

Manejo y Conservaci6n, 1998, p. 1).














CHAPTER 4
DESCRIPTION OF THE STUDY AREA AND LIVELIHOOD SYSTEMS

Chapter Overview

Prior to presenting specific research findings in Chapter 5, a description of the

village, the surrounding area, climate, land tenure and other socio-cultural characteristics,

and household livelihood systems, is given here to provide an understanding of what the

place and its people are like.

The Village

UaxactCn is located some 83 km north of Flores, the Petdn's capital, and a little

over 100 km south of the Mexican border. It is a relatively isolated community lying

along an unpaved road running north from Tikal National Park to the Mexican border.

Most of the village lies on either side of an old airstrip constructed in the late 1930s to

transport people, supplies, and chicle in and out of the area before the road was opened

up in the 1970s.

Results of a March 1997 census show a total of 136 families in the village. Total

population is reported as 681 inhabitants. A detailed breakdown of total population

reveals: 158 adult males (23%), 132 adult females (19%), 216 male children (320o), and

175 female children (26%). Average household size is 5 persons. This is an increase of

124 (18%) persons over the results of a pre% ious census taken in 1992 (Organizaci6n

Manejo y Conservaci6n, 1998, p. 1).









There is a health post (unstaffed at the time of this study) and about 70 homes

received solar-powered light in September 1998. A well was drilled in mid-1998 and it

appears that most households will have access to running water by the end of 2000. The

nearest telephone is about 40 km away in the town of El Remate, and there is one bus a

day to and from Flores and its neighboring towns of San Benito and Santa Elena. There

is one bakery in the village wlhich makes bread on a regular basis.

Children may attend school in the village up to eighth grade but rarely do so.

Girls usually quit school by the time they complete sixth grade because they are needed

at home. as do many boys. Those children desiring to continue on to high school (and

whose families can afford it) must leave the village to attend schools in Santa Elena, San

Benito, Flores, or other communities to the south.

Homes are built on individual lots. Those unable to afford a lot and home rent

them from others. While a few houses are constructed from cement block or rough-

sawed wood, most have walls made of upright wooden tree branches plastered % ith

calcitic mud. Roofs are thatched with guano (Sabal morrisiana). the leaf of a local palm

tree, or are sheeted with tin.

Property Rights

Land "ownership" in Uaxactuin is not defined in the Western sense of the word

because land is a collectively owned resource. While the formal process of obtaining

property rights in Uaxactin differs slightly from areas outside of the village, the

establishment and preservation of tenure as well as the inheritance of property rights is

similar to descriptions made by Reina (1967).

To obtain rights to a land parcel for farming purposes, a person must permanently

reside in the village before formally asking the community and its leaders for permission









to raise maize and other crops. Once approved, the person seeks a guamil, or fallowed

area, not being used. If no right of ownership is claimed by an. one in the village, he

begins to raise his crops.

Tenure is established by continued interest in and use of the area (or areas) even

while the land is in guamil. "Ownership" rights to that property are in turn handed down

through a family. "Landowners" also have the right to "give" another milpero use of a

guamil for a mutually agreed-upon length of time or to sell rights to use of their guamil

on an annual basis. In both cases, permanent property rights revert to the original owner

unless other arrangements are made. Similar to the idea of renting land, a parcel's value

differs according to its state. A guamil, for example, is valued at around Q50 per

manzana (mz)' while the rights to the production from a planted milpa may command a

price of Q200 or more per mz, depending upon the condition of the crop. In all cases,

prices are agreed upon according to the necessities of "buyer" and "seller."

This system is an efficient one. Property rights are generally respected and

disputes are settled internally. However, it does tend to favor families who have been

present in Uaxactin for many years, as it has afforded them the opportunity to

accumulate large tracts of land. Just how large these tracts are is unknown. The subject

of property rights is a sensitive one, and the researcher felt that his inquiries into

indi% idual land holdings would not only be inappropriate, but would also create

suspicions among villagers that he had ulterior motives for his presence.

Climate and Soils

The climate is semitropical, with an average temperature of 240C (Schwartz,

1990, p. 117) and 1100 millimeters (mm) of annual rainfall (Urrutia, 1967, p. 32). There

are distinct wet and dry seasons. with precipitation normally falling in a bimodal pattern


'One manana is approximately equal to 0.7 hectares.







36

beginning in April, tapering off in August, and then continuing again in September until

ending in December. The amount and timing of rainfall of the region is characterized as

highly variable from year to year (Deevey, Brenner, Flannery & Yezdani, 1980). In

1997, for example, rainfall followed the normal pattern while in 1998 almost no rain fell

until late September. Rainfall data from Tikal National Park 24 kilometers to the south

of Uaxactin (INSIVUMEH, 1998) pictured in Figure 4-1 demonstrates the variance of

annual precipitation.


1800
1600


2 1000
800
600
400
200

1960 1961 1962 1963 1964 1965 1966 1967 1968
a.


18
16
14
12
S1
8
6
4
2


b.


00
100
n00
I00


200
00
00
00-
00 -
o0 -------------------
0
1990 1991 1992 1993 1994 1995 1996 1997 1998


Figure 4-1. Annual precipitation from January 1960-December 1968,
and January 1990-April 1998.









While it is not possible to extrapolate these specific precipitation levels to

Uaxactun's rainfall, it is possible to postulate that similar patterns occur in the region

surrounding the village.

Soils

Much of the area's soils are calcareous Mollisols possessing high percentages of

clay. Two subgroups of the Mollisol soil order are found: Lithic Rendolls on hillsides

and Typic Rendolls in low areas (Dugelby, 1995). The former drains well and is

relatively shallow (one often finds gravel at or within 50 cm of the surface). Because of

its good structure, however, it tends to lose moisture very quickly during the dry season.

The latter, found inplanadas (flatland found between foothills and bajos) is a heavier and

deeper soil with better moisture retention, but is more subject to flooding due to its

heavier texture and physical location. Overall both subgroups are considered to be

shallow, moderately fertile soils (Orantes-Thomas, 1995). Soils found in bajo areas have

been generally classified as Chromuderts (CATIE, 1990b; Brokaw & Mallory, 1989;

Lundell, 1937, as cited in Reining, Heinzman, Cabrera-Madrid, Lopez, & Solorzano,

1992), are typically saturated or flooded for part of the year, and crack when dry.

Domestic Animals

Domestic swine and turkeys are a source of meat for the few households that can

produce sufficient amounts of maize or who can earn enough cash to buy maize to feed

them. Most families, though, cannot do this and instead keep chickens for meat and eggs

as they consume considerably less maize. Dogs are used as companion animals and for

hunting. Mules and horses serve as pack animals for moving such things as maize from

the milpas. cut xate and, processed chicle through areas inaccessible by vehicle. No

cattle are found in Uaxactin as there is little grass for forage and because of a ban on









While it is not possible to extrapolate these specific precipitation levels to

Uaxactun's rainfall, it is possible to postulate that similar patterns occur in the region

surrounding the village.

Soils

Much of the area's soils are calcareous Mollisols possessing high percentages of

clay. Two subgroups of the Mollisol soil order are found: Lithic Rendolls on hillsides

and Typic Rendolls in low areas (Dugelby, 1995). The former drains well and is

relatively shallow (one often finds gravel at or within 50 cm of the surface). Because of

its good structure, however, it tends to lose moisture very quickly during the dry season.

The latter, found inplanadas (flatland found between foothills and bajos) is a heavier and

deeper soil with better moisture retention, but is more subject to flooding due to its

heavier texture and physical location. Overall both subgroups are considered to be

shallow, moderately fertile soils (Orantes-Thomas, 1995). Soils found in bajo areas have

been generally classified as Chromuderts (CATIE, 1990b; Brokaw & Mallory, 1989;

Lundell, 1937, as cited in Reining, Heinzman, Cabrera-Madrid, Lopez, & Solorzano,

1992), are typically saturated or flooded for part of the year, and crack when dry.

Domestic Animals

Domestic swine and turkeys are a source of meat for the few households that can

produce sufficient amounts of maize or who can earn enough cash to buy maize to feed

them. Most families, though, cannot do this and instead keep chickens for meat and eggs

as they consume considerably less maize. Dogs are used as companion animals and for

hunting. Mules and horses serve as pack animals for moving such things as maize from

the milpas. cut xate and, processed chicle through areas inaccessible by vehicle. No

cattle are found in Uaxactin as there is little grass for forage and because of a ban on









ranching inside the biosphere. Much of the forage fed to horses and mules, in fact,

comes from the leaves of the ram6n (Brosimum alicastrum) or breadnut tree, particularly

when they are in forest camps where there are no open areas with grass. Animals are led

to an area with ram6n trees, a person climbs the tree and cuts branches from it, and the

animals are left to feed. The trees can be "harvested" again after adequate regrowth

occurs.

Diet

Maize (Zea mays) is consumed daily in the form of tortillas and is most

commonly accompanied by black beans (Phaeseolus vulgaris). Combined, these form

the backbone of the daily diet. Meat is consumed when hunted or purchased. Relatively

little fruit is consistently eaten as it is expensive and not locally available for purchase. It

most commonly appears in the diet when coco palms (Cocos nucifera), bananas (Musa

spp.), guava (Psidium guajava), and other local forest species bear fruit from about

August through October. Likewise, few vegetables are consumed. Onions (Allium

cepa), tomatoes (Lycopersicon esculentum) green peppers (Capsicum annuum), and

potatoes (Solanum tuberosum) are purchased from time to time but are rarely raised.

Vegetable seed is expensive, pests are problematic, very few families have home

gardens, and water would have to be hauled to the plants during the dry season. Coffee is

consumed daily, usually in the morning but sometimes with other meals. Although rice

is consumed at times and fed to baby chicks, it is expensive and usually eaten in forest

camps because it is easy to carry and prepare. Pasta is purchased from time to time and

is somewhat of a luxury item. Sugar, salt, and oil are consumed as a matter of course.







Division of Labor

Men and some older boys-usually starting around 11 to 13 years of age-work

in the milpas, gather firewood, and haul water. Young boys as well as men will work as

day laborers for extra money. Once they possess the physical strength and desire to do

so, usually in their early to mid-teens, boys begin cutting xate and hunting with their

fathers. They usually do not harvest allspice or chicle until their late teens as the work

requires great physical strength and stamina and is quite dangerous.

Most of women's activities are involved with managing the household, childcare,

and hauling water if their children are too young to do so. Apart from a few notable

exceptions, they do not go to the forest to harvest NTFPs and they rarely work in milpas,

although a few preteen girls did accompany their fathers to the milpa to bring back

immature maize for roasting. Some prepare and sell snack foods or fruits grown in their

families' milpas. Others purchase foods such as bread or fruit and resell them in town.

Young girls, and sometimes boys, go from door to door making the sales.

Women, however, are nevertheless quite independent because their husbands are

so frequently absent. While many men are gone for relatively short lengths of time on

daily forays into the forest or to their milpas, others may be gone for weeks, and even

months, at a time if they are working in remote areas or in salaried positions outside

Uaxactiin. As a result, many households appear to be dual-headed, or, in other words,

women and men are equal partners in matters of accessing household resources, decision-

making and resource allocation. Even when households which are (apparently) male-

headed, women command a great amount of decision-making power in household

management and resource allocation, making financial (and other) decisions in concert







with their husbands.2 In some cases where women have income of their own, they pool

financial resources with their husbands and have a say about how their money is used.

Quite a few women run businesses in Uaxactfin. Two of six local xate buyers are

women. One of them owns and runs a store on her own; the other runs a store with her

husband. A different woman buys clothes outside of town and resells them in the village,

and yet another runs the only pharmacy in town. Two others run small stores, and

another runs one of the four mills in Uaxactin that grind corn for tortillas. The two small

restaurants and only hotel in town are run by women. Finally, there is a group of women

who make and market cornhusk dolls.

Constraints to Life

Water is one of the greatest constraints to life in Uaxactin. While most

households are able to collect rainwater off their roofs during the rainy months, all

members old enough to do so spend large amounts of time during the dry season hauling

water. Because of the underlying karst geology, the only readily available water is found

in aguadas, or shallow lagoons. Uaxactuin has several of these waterholes, but only two

are used for drinking water. The others either dry up during the summer months or are

contaminated from wading mules, horses and pigs, bathing children, and clothes-

washing. The aguadas are scattered throughout the community, but because only two are

used for cooking and drinking, some households must haul their water more than 400

meters. In extremely dry years, some families have left to live with relatives in other

parts of the Petdn because there was not enough water. In the summer of 1998, one of



2 As an interesting comment on women's independence, women commonly live and
have children with men without ever marrying. This arrangement is not at all considered
scandalous.







the two aguadas used for drinking water almost dried up, forcing many families to trek

even further than usual for water.

Malaria and dengue fever are prevalent in the village during the latter part of the

rainy season (April through December), typically at their worst from October through

December. Because the local health post was closed at the time of this study, those

unable to purchase medicine for self-treatment at the two village pharmacies were forced

to journey to San Benito, Santa Elena, or Flores to purchase medicine and see doctors.

The Local Economy

The economy is largely cash-driven, so there is much interaction with outside

markets. Chicle, xate, and allspice are all sold to local buyers or to those who come from

outside Uaxactfn. Families regularly buy food and specialty items like cooking oil, soap,

and lamp oil from stores in Uaxactun. Some maize and dried squash seed is sold by

milperos with surplus amounts, but consistent sales are rare. Some families purchase

specialty items and food from the market in Santa Elena and stores in San Benito where

prices are lower. Many of Uaxactfin's store owners provide food to families on credit.

Supporting Elements of Livelihood Systems

Livelihood systems in Uaxactin are most commonly based upon hunting, allspice

collection, chicle extraction, xate harvesting, and milpa. As each of these elements, or

livelihood activities, is discussed in the following pages, reference to Figures 4-2 and 4-3

will facilitate understanding of how the system works, when these activities are

undertaken, and who carries them out.

Hunting

Hunting takes place throughout the year and is a source of protein for many

people as well as cash for professional hunters. Villagers who hunt usually do so while







the two aguadas used for drinking water almost dried up, forcing many families to trek

even further than usual for water.

Malaria and dengue fever are prevalent in the village during the latter part of the

rainy season (April through December), typically at their worst from October through

December. Because the local health post was closed at the time of this study, those

unable to purchase medicine for self-treatment at the two village pharmacies were forced

to journey to San Benito, Santa Elena, or Flores to purchase medicine and see doctors.

The Local Economy

The economy is largely cash-driven, so there is much interaction with outside

markets. Chicle, xate, and allspice are all sold to local buyers or to those who come from

outside Uaxactfn. Families regularly buy food and specialty items like cooking oil, soap,

and lamp oil from stores in Uaxactun. Some maize and dried squash seed is sold by

milperos with surplus amounts, but consistent sales are rare. Some families purchase

specialty items and food from the market in Santa Elena and stores in San Benito where

prices are lower. Many of Uaxactfin's store owners provide food to families on credit.

Supporting Elements of Livelihood Systems

Livelihood systems in Uaxactin are most commonly based upon hunting, allspice

collection, chicle extraction, xate harvesting, and milpa. As each of these elements, or

livelihood activities, is discussed in the following pages, reference to Figures 4-2 and 4-3

will facilitate understanding of how the system works, when these activities are

undertaken, and who carries them out.

Hunting

Hunting takes place throughout the year and is a source of protein for many

people as well as cash for professional hunters. Villagers who hunt usually do so while













Other Xate Exporters


SXate



I


Specialty foods, cl
medicine, other specii


Xate Outside
Cash, some loaned


Xate, chicle,
allspice
Stores/Community

Xate, Chicle,
Allspice, Maize, Pepitoria

others,


aty items ,


Cash I I
L |Japan
Contractors CONAP Chicle
________ Chicle tax Cash
C o tr ct r I hi e ta C hicle tax C ash Chicle
Cash (some loaned), equipment,ce tx
*vehicle for forest-village SUCHILMA
transport ofNTFPs
transit of N s Cash, some advanced, food
SBuyers/Local Contractors equipment, forest-village
Cash (adva chicle transport Chic
SCash (advanced), Chicle


I


food, equipment, emergency support,
forest-village transport of NTFPs
I I


Labor, fertility


Cash


Xate marketing, cash
O.M.Y.C. 4
(Civil Society) Xate
Labor,
Xate Cash fertility
Xate I (some loaned)

MAEX (xate exporter) ------ --------- orest
SMAEXorter) -------------------------------------- ForestXate

*Solid lines denote direct relationship.
*Dashed lines denote an indirect relationship.
*Not all contractors provide vehicles for NTFP transport:
some village buyers own vehicles.


ld < I Milpa
Id Maize, beans, other
Food crops, medicinal plants
SFood,
HH waste, people,
Meat, chicle, xate, maize, rice NTFP
allspice, fruit, firewood,
medicinal and edible plants, transport
forage for horses and mules Swine, chicken,
turkey, horses,
------------------------ mules -
Forage
SMaize
L.


Figure 4-2. Livelihood system diagram.


, ,.


'


Househo


Market




















Milpa
Maize (primera)
Maize (segunda)
Squash M, MC
Beans M, MC


M, MC
M, MC


Xate M, MC

Chicle M

Allspice M

Hunting M

Household
Haul water M, F, OMC,
YMC, FC
Collect wood M, OM(
YMC
Daily chores: F, YMC, FC


Legend
M- adult male
OMC- male child > 12 years old
YMC- male child 8-12 years old
F-adult female
FC- female child > 8 years old

Jan Feb Mar Ap May June July Aug Sept Oct Nov Dec


slash-----slash---slash/plant--plant-- weed-----weed-green harvest----dobla----dry harvest-------------
-----------dry harvest- ---------------------------------slash/plant---slash/plant-------
slashslash- ---plant----------------------weed/green harvest-weed-dry harvest
dry harvest/slash-----slash -------plant-------weed/green harvest-dry harvest----------plant----plant---

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

-----harvest--- ----------------------harvest-----------------

------harvest----------

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Figure 4-3. Labor calendar and division of labor.


-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -


- - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -







harvesting xate, allspice, chicle, or working in their milpas. While many different kinds

of animals are consumed, some of the favorites are the paca (Agoutipaca), a large rodent

known locally as the "tepescuintle;" the great curassow (Crax rubra) or "faisan;"

whitetail deer (Odocoileus virginianus) or "venado;" and the red brocket deer (Mazama

americana) or "cabro." There are a few professional hunters in the village, but for most

hunting is a subsistence activity. Hunting was not specifically addressed in this study as

extensive hunting studies have recently been conducted in the village (Morales &

Morales, 1997; McNab, 1999).

Allspice

Allspice (Pimenta officinalis) is the second element of this system. It is harvested

by climbing the trees freehand or with climbing spurs and ropes, cutting the secondary

fruit-bearing branches from the tree, stripping the berries from the branches using hands

and feet, loading them into bags and then and carrying them to forest camps or Uaxactin

where they are sold to buyers. Usually gathered from early July until mid-September, it

has played a relatively important role as a source of cash for families since about 1961

(Schwartz, 1990). Even though its market can be very volatile because Guatemala

competes with large-scale allspice plantations in the Caribbean (R. McNab, April 18,

1998, personal communication), exports have climbed over time. Noting that the

government figures are probably low, Schwartz reports that allspice exports increased

from just under 2050 kg in 1960 to about 138,045 kg in 1986 (p. 260).

Villagers do not consider allspice as a consistent cash source. Annual production

and the incentive to harvest allspice vary considerably due to drought, the difficulty of

accessing remote areas, inconsistent fruiting characteristics of the tree, and rapidly

fluctuating market prices. The year in which this study was conducted is perfect







illustration of allspice's inconsistent role in household livelihood systems: no harvest

took place as very few trees fruited. In fact, no harvests took place in Uaxactfin from

1997 until 1999, when a small 400,000 lb harvest was carried out (R. McNab, personal

communication, February 4, 2000).

Because the last harvest occurred in 1996, very little data regarding allspice was

collected. Most harvesters could not recall how much allspice they gathered, the number

of days they harvested, allspice prices at the time, or their incurred expenses. At best, the

data summarized in Table 4-1 (based on harvester recall) provide some indication of how

much allspice apimentero (allspice harvester) can harvest per day and the variation in

harvester ability.

Table 4-1. Daily allspice harvests in pounds ofundried berries. (n=8)


Pimentero Pounds

1 50
2 30
3 27.8
4 26.7
5 40
6 33
7 110
8 40
Average 35
Standard Deviation 27.5


As a concluding comment on allspice harvesting, a review of Gould's (1996)

findings and conversations with local pimenteros revealed that some harvesters

(ostensibly only those who come from outside of the community) sometimes cut primary

limbs from the trees or cut down the tree altogether. This is apparently done out of a fear

of climbing or to increase the ease and speed of harvesting. This sort of shortsightedness





46

is also encountered among xate harvesters and chicle tappers and is discussed later in this

chapter.

Xate

The third major element of the system is xate (Chamaedora spp.). The leaves of

this understory palm are cut with a small knife and packed into backpacks made of

plastic-fiber grain bags. It is then carried to xate camps in the forest or back to Uaxactfin.

Three types of xate are cut in the area: jade (ha-de), C. oblongata; hembra (em-bra), C.

elegans; and, cola del pescado ("fish tail"), C. ernesti-augustii. Leaves of jade and

hembra are tied into bunches of 45 leaves--40 leaves in the case of cola del

pescado-and sold to local buyers by the gruesa. Ninety leaves constitute a gruesa of

jade or hembra, and 80 leaves for cola as they are larger and more difficult to handle.

Leaves are trucked out of the village to sorting houses in San Benito and Santa Elena,

and then are shipped to Guatemala City for export to the United States and Europe for

use in floral and funeral arrangements. About 75% of the xate exported from Guatemala

comes from the northern Pet6n (Reining et al., 1992, p. 128).

Xate harvests and sales have grown tremendously since its export began around

1960. Although quantification is somewhat difficult due to underreporting by exporters,

Schwartz (1990) reported that 5000 lbs. were packaged and shipped in 1960 (p. 260). By

1989 exports had grown to 1,127,400 lbs for two of the three types of xate harvested

(Reining, et al., 1992, p.129). These numbers do not reflect the quantities of leaves

rejected in the selection process. Reining et al. report that up to 60% of the 90 leaves in a

gruesa of jade or hembra are thrown out during the selection process prior to exportation

(p. 124). This has raised concerns that xate is being overharvested, adversely affecting

plant regenerative and reproductive capabilities following leaf removal. Xateros, or xate

harvesters, in fact, lament that they must now travel at least two hours on foot to find any





47

harvesters, in fact, lament that they must now travel at least two hours on foot to find any

harvestable xate, that leaves are smaller, and plants have all but disappeared around

Uaxactin where they were frequently harvested 30 years ago. Additionally, local xateros

complain that xate harvesters brought in from outside the community routinely cut

immature leaves and even the apical leaf (which kills the plant) from plants, putting more

pressure on an already-stressed resource. This is not to say that local harvesters do not

do the same thing, as the researcher frequently observed immature harvested leaves and

poor harvesting habits among local xateros.

Xate harvests fluctuate with export demand, peaking from March to May and

tapering off from July through September (Reining et al., 1992). In most years these

declines are not particularly problematic as villagers shift to chicle extraction. In 1998,

however, as allspice and chicle were not cash-earning options for most households, xate

played a larger role than usual in people's livelihoods.

Xate played a very substantial role in 1998, perhaps more than usual as it was the

primary source of cash for many of Uaxactfin's households in 1998. Xate is an attractive

option for many in the village for several reasons. First, its market is more stable than

allspice. While its prices do vary, they tend not to change rapidly. Second, xate can be

harvested throughout the year if necessary, providing households with consistent cash

inflows. Third, it fills "gaps" during lulls in other cash-generating activities, such as

between the end of chicle extraction and the beginning of allspice harvests. Fourth, and

perhaps most importantly, when households are unable to earn cash or obtain food from

their normal spectrum of their activities, as was the case in 1998 with the failure of

allspice and chicle, xate can sustain households in lieu of those activities. Had xate not

been available in 1998, Uaxact6n's households would have been in dire economic straits.







As with allspice harvesters, there is a wide variation of daily harvest volume

among xateros (xate harvesters). Harvests vary considerably according to the speed with

which a xatero harvests, the distance he must travel to reach areas with adequate amounts

of xate, and the care with which he selects leaves before cutting them off the plant.

Tables 4-2 and 4-3 offer summaries of data gathered on adult and younger xateros of

various ages during a 1 to 2 month period.

Historically, a xatero's ability to rapidly harvest large amounts of xate has

translated directly into cash earnings. The "less able" Xatero 2 in Table 4-2, for

example, earned an average of Q51 per day while Xatero 5 earned Q85.3 Xate is

purchased by most buyers regardless of the leaf quality in terms of color, size, or

perforations.

Table 4-2. Adult xatero daily harvest averages. (n=5)

Xatero Gruesas harvested*
1 18
2 21
3 23
4 23
5 41
*One gruesa of xate equals 90 leaves in the cases of jade or hembra,
80 leaves in the case of cola del pescado.


Table 4-3. Child xatero daily harvest averages. (n=8)

Xatero Age Gruesas harvested*
1 9 12
2 10 14
3 10 13
4 13 15
5 14 9
6 15 11
7 16 18
8 18 15
*One gruesa of xate equals 90 leaves in the cases of jade or hembra,
80 leaves in the case of cola del pescado.

3 Q is the symbol for Quetzales, Guatemala's currency. Its value at the time of this
study was approximately Q6.5 per U.S. dollar.







Of late, however, the quality of cut palms has become an issue due to the

percentages of undesirable leaves culled prior to export, and the harvesting (and buying)

practice of quantity over quality harvesting has been called into question. The regulatory

body that licenses xate buyers and processors (CONAP) has become concerned that the

high percentages of undersized and blemished palms appearing in packing houses may be

an indication of overharvesting. In an effort to mitigate the physiological effects of

taking immature and/or blemished leaves from plants, CONAP is asking local buyers to

reject harvested xate that has high numbers of obviously unacceptable leaves. Ostensibly

this will encourage xateros to cut only high quality leaves, leaving undesirable ones on

the plant which will, in turn, reduce the stress of future harvests and increase plant

reproduction.

Whether this will happen, and whether CONAP will take more draconian steps if

leaf quality does not improve remains unclear. What is more clear is that however well-

intended this policy may be, it is somewhat misguided. Unless xateros receive an

incentive to selectively harvest leaves, which will reduce their daily harvests and cash

earnings, there is little probability that they will change their behavior. As one xatero

stated, there is no reason to select better leaves if buyers pay low prices and accept leaves

of any quality.

To this end, in September 1998 the Organizaci6n Manejo y Conservaci6n

(OMYC) of Uaxactfin began buying xate at higher prices (see Table 4-4) with the

agreement that xateros would selectively harvest xate. The organization hoped that the

incentive of higher prices would not only provide greater benefits to xateros but would

also encourage xateros to change their harvesting methods, thus conserving the resource

in the long run.







Table 4-4. OMYC and local contractor xate prices as of October, 1998,
in Quetzales per gruesa.

Type of xate OMYC price Local contractor price
Jade 2.25 2.00
Hembra 2.25 2.00
Cola del pescado 2.60 2.50
Average 2.37 2.16


Based on personal observations of xate sold to OMYC versus other contractors,

OMYC's leaf quality is better. The exporter to which OMYC sells its xate, MAEX S.A.,

has also reported improved xate quality. One shipment from Uaxactfin, for example, was

reported to have only 3 to 7 leaves per gruesa thrown out during the selection process (B.

Garcia, personal communication, October 7, 1998), substantially less than the 50% or

higher rejection rate reported by Reining et al. (1992, p. 124).

Changes in the Traditional Xate Marketing Structure

A major change in how xate is locally marketed took place while this study was

being conducted. Under the traditional system, xateros cut and sell xate to local buyers

(contractors) in the village. These contractors are often the xateros' patrons

(benefactors) who front them money and/or food in times of need when harvests are not

possible. Many contractors are supported by outside buyers who in turn sell xate directly

to exporters.

Outside buyers also run camps in conjunction with local contractors deep in the

forest, two to three days' walk from Uaxactun. The cut palms are brought out by pickup

truck two to three times a week. The food taken into the camps is sold at a higher price

than in the village and xate purchased there garners a lower price (Q1.50 or less as

opposed to Q2 or higher in the village), often leaving the xateros little or nothing to show







for their work. Contractors sell their xate to outside buyers at higher prices than what

they pay xateros in camp or in town, but bear some of the costs of running the camps,

vehicles, and supporting their xateros. They, too, often become indebted to outside

buyers when rain or other factors slow xate harvest. This chain of debt creates a state of

affairs where any change in the status-quo affects everyone in the system from xateros to

outside buyers.

In September 1998, prior to beginning xate purchases, OMYC, the village

organization charged with representing the community in all affairs related to its

community forest concession, attempted to tax outside buyers for xate purchased in the

village. Its goal was to begin raising money for making the community's concession

payments. These buyers, suddenly faced with lower profit margins via community taxes,

stopped purchasing xate in the village in protest, effectively cutting off most households'

means of obtaining cash.

The OMYC was forced to capitulate after several days under great community

pressure, but had in the interim negotiated direct xate sales to MAEX, S.A., and began

buying xate at higher prices (shown in Table 4-4) than local buyers.4 This new

arrangement has worked to some extent. As discussed in the previous section, the call

for higher-grade xate accompanied by higher prices seems to be working. In another

sense, however, OMYC's entry into this arena has been less successful. First of all, the

organization is quite vulnerable to shifts in market demand which occur throughout the

year. Unlike local contractors, OMYC has no middleman who can store xate for long


4 As of early October 1998, each gruesa of cola del pescado was being taxed: 25
centavos (c) for concession management fees, 10 c for concession payments, and 5 c for
reforestation efforts. Each gruesa of hembra and jade were being taxed 10 c for
concession payments and 5 c for reforestation.







periods of time (this requires refrigeration) and thus must adjust purchase volumes and

prices paid as market conditions change. In October, for example, international demand

drove jade prices up 10 centavos, but in late November MAEX stopped buying all three

varieties from OMYC for two weeks when demand declined precipitously. Second,

many xateros who sell to other local contractors (who object to OMYC's role as a buyer)

do not feel that they can sell xate to OMYC. As their relationships with these local

contractors are often one of patronage, xateros fear loss of the social and economic safety

nets provided by their buyers, safety nets that OMYC does not offer. Third, there were

issues of transparency regarding OMYC's financial status in the latter months of 1998.

The organization's administrators, who had been quite open with the community in the

past, were somewhat closed-mouthed regarding money management, which rapidly

generated speculation that some of them were skimming profits.

Chicle

Chicle is the fifth major component of the system and has a long and rich history

in the Peten. It was to the Peten's economy what "rubber was to Amazonia" (Schwartz,

1990, p. 136). During its heyday from about 1871 to the mid-1940s when chicle was

harvested and exported to the United States as the base for chewing gum, it directly

contributed to the livelihoods of 29% to 50% of the economically active population of

Pet6n (Schwartz, 1990, p. 151). At the macro level, Schwartz further notes that chicle

was Guatemala's third most important export in the 1920s after bananas and coffee (p.

151). By 1945 it accounted for 8.5% of the country's total exports; between 1953 and

1972, it contributed between 2.3 to 0.9% of the total (p 151). Exports declined after 1945

when United States gum manufacturers began replacing chicle with petrochemically-





53

based resins (p. 140). Two Japanese firms currently purchase chicle for its chewing gum

production, still making it an important source of cash for Uaxactan's families.

In years of normal rainfall chicle extraction begins in July or August and extends

into January. The forest north of Uaxact6n contains the sapodilla tree (Manilkara

zapota) from which the resinous sap is taken. Contratistas, or contractors, recruit

chicleros (chicle harvesters) in May and June before the season begins. Verbal or signed

contracts are made, usually requiring a chiclero to collect 500 to 1000 lbs. of chicle.

Contratistas supply their workers with food, tools and other necessities on credit (at

inflated prices) while workers are in the forest. They also give their chicleros a cash

advance and pay their families a monthly allowance during the harvest. All cash

advances are subtracted from the harvester's chicle sales. No interest is charged, but the

chiclero is obligated to sell his product to his contractor.

Contratistas look for areas in the forest with a nearby water source and a

sufficient number of trees that have recovered from the previous harvest, a process which

takes five to ten years. A typical camp supports the extraction activities of 15 to 20

chicleros. With the exception of women who may be hired by the contratista to cook and

wash clothes, camps are all male.

Chicleros spend six days of the week tapping trees and collecting the raw resin,

leaving at dawn and returning in late afternoon. Sunday are reserved for cooking down

the collected sap, washing clothes, and other camp-related activities. Dugelby (1995, p.

72) found that a chiclero taps an average of five trees per day and that the tapping process

itself takes from 30 minutes to 3 1/2 hours, depending on the size and shape of the tree as

well as the chiclero's skill. The amount of chicle a chiclero produces annually depends

upon his skill and the length of time he is willing to remain in the forest (see Table 4-5).





54

The chiclero will walk several kilometers to look for trees to tap and selects them by the

following criteria: First, the tree must have healed enough from the last extraction to be

tapped again. He can judge this by the color of the machete scars. If they are red, the

tree was tapped a year ago. If they are black the tree was probably tapped four or more

years ago. Second, the size and shape of the tree is considered. A chiclero desires trees

that are tall, thick-trunked and healthy, but not so thick that they are overly difficult to

climb. Third, a chiclero looks for trees that are relatively close to each other in order to

facilitate sap collection and transport back to camp.


Table 4-5. Chicle harvest data. (n=14)

Number of days Pounds of chicle Total pounds of
Chico in forest* extracted per day* chicle extracted*
1 122 3.3 400
2 21 3.8 80
3 21 4.8 100
4 28 6.3 177
5 122 6.5 800
6 168 9.5 1600
7 30 10.0 300
8 61 11.5 700
9 76 11.8 900
10 not reported 11.9 not reported
11 7 14.3 100
12 13 17.3 225
13 11 18.2 200
14 not reported 21.4 not reported
Average 57 10.8 465
Standard 54 6 457
Deviation_
*Based upon chicle harvest seasons prior to 1998.


Having selected a tree, the chiclero cuts a v-shaped notch at its base using a machete and

places a paraffin or resin-coated cloth sack there to catch the flowing sap. He then

climbs the trunk using climbing spurs and a throw rope, cutting herringbone designs into







the bark of the tree with a machete as he ascends. In doing this he must take care to

avoid damaging the tree's cambium, otherwise the cuts will not heal properly and the tree

will be left vulnerable to pests and disease. The sap flows to the middle of each 'v' and

on down to the base of the trunk into the sack, which is collected each morning. The

unspoken rule is that once a tree is tapped or a grove of them are discovered, no other

chiclero can tap them for the rest of the season.

Most chicleros from Uaxactin possess this conservationist, long term perspective.

They realize that tapping trees that have not properly healed will eventually jeopardize

their livelihoods. In contrast, Dugelby (1995) reports that chicleros from outside the

region do not have this perspective and will tap trees before they have recovered.

Raw sap is collected and stored in camp during the week and is cooked down in

metal cauldrons on Sundays. The resinous sap is about 80% water and must be cooked

until it reaches 30% moisture content (Dugelby, 1995, p. 136). At this point, the latex

takes on a glassy look and a light brown to gray color. The latex is poured onto soaped

burlap bags (to prevent sticking) until it cools and then is packed into soaped,

rectangular, wooden molds where it is kneaded into blocks called marquetas. Finally, the

18 to 22 lb marqueta is stamped with the chiclero's initials, his employer's name, and

CONAP's acronym (Consejo de Areas Protejidas), the agency that monitors chicle and

other NTFP harvests.

The marquetas are taken by mule or truck to a central warehouse in Uaxactfin and

stored until it is shipped out by truck. Each chiclero's marquetas are weighed in the

camp before they are taken, and he is given a written receipt for each. The value of a

marqueta is based upon weight and moisture content. The resulting cash value of each

marqueta is divided as follows: 26% goes to the contratista, 43% is paid to the chiclero,





56

19% is taken by CONAP, and the remainder is allocated to taxes, fees and transportation

costs (Schaefer, 1997, p. 3).

When the chiclero's production is tallied at the end of the year, his cash advance,

paid wages and any incurred expenses are subtracted to determine his net pay. Because

international sales are not made until a certain amount of processed latex is available for

export, CONAP sets a floor price at the beginning of the year. It is upon this price that a

chiclero's initial pay is based. After the international sale is made, CONAP determines

the difference between the floor and actual prices, pays the contractors, and the

contractors reimburse their chicleros (Schaefer, 1997, p. 13). It is worthwhile to note that

the system works much the same way for chicleros who are members of SUCHILMA,

the national workers union for chicleros, except that they often receive food and

equipment at somewhat lower prices than local contratistas charge.

The 1998 chicle harvest was very small and less than 15 people from the village

participated. Apparently, sufficient chicle from previous harvests had been stockpiled to

cover export demand for the year, and thus only 50,000 lbs. were extracted from the

Uaxactfin area. Contracts offered by SUCHILMA and local contractors were quite small,

ranging from 300 to 500 lbs. per person. Aside from three local contractors who hired on

a few villagers, SUCHILMA (the national chiclero and loggers' union) and COCHICLE

(the chicle cooperative within SUCHILMA) conducted most of the year's harvest.

The relationship between SUCHILMA and the village has evidently soured in

recent years. The manager of SUCHILMA's local office complained of unpaid villager

debts as well as villagers' unwillingness to go to forest camps and stay until the season's

end. Uaxactuneros counter with claims that the SUCHILMA does not pay them on a

timely basis following chicle sales during the harvest and are angered over the union's







move to bring chicleros from areas outside of Uaxactin to fulfill its harvest obligations.

Villagers find it particularly irritating that outsiders are profiting from the forest

resources they seek to protect and manage as well as the fact that the community (as an

entity) receives no money from taxes levied on SUCHILMA/COCHICLE's profits.

Milpa

Milpa agriculture constitutes the fifth element of the system and is a descendant

of Maya slash and bur agriculture. Most milpas are located within an hour's walk of

Uaxactin and are primarily found on flat to slightly rolling terrain. They lie to the south

and north along both sides of the road passing through the village, to the west along an

old road to the town of San Andr6s, and to the east and northeast where they skirt the

edge of the bajo.

Milpa contributes to the wellbeing of households by providing maize (Zea mays)

and other crops for household consumption. In 1998, about 75% of village households

raised maize. While not enough maize is consistently produced to entirely satisfy all

household maize consumption requirements, its production does reduce spending on food

purchases.

Plots are selected on the basis of soil drainage and the size of growth found on

them. Milperos prefer guamil fallowedd land) to virgin forest because clearing and

burning can be done more rapidly and easily. Using only machetes, growth in older

guamiles (plural of guamil) containing bigger trees is slashed in January and February

allowing more time for adequate drying prior to burning. If a guamil has relatively little

green material to contend with-such as one or two years of growth-milperos will not

cut it until a few weeks before they burn. This prevents weeds from taking over the plot

prematurely. Milperos either clear their plots by themselves, work together on a trade-







labor basis, or hire workers. Plot size varies considerably, but usually one to three

manzanas are cleared.

The slash is burned in April and May and planted with the first rains. Two

varieties of white flint maize are used, one that matures in 120 to 140 days (maiz

Petenero) and a 90 day variety (variably called Ixta or Icta). A black variety used for

holiday celebrations is also sometimes planted but is not commonplace. Using a dibble

stick, milperos plant 5 to 6 seeds per hill, leaving 1 to 1.5 meters between hills. Most

seed is not treated with insecticides or fungicides. Since more than two successive maize

crops are rarely raised, insect pests and diseases do not have time to build up to

problematic levels (Urrutia, 1967, p. 45).

Two types of squash are commonly found in milpas. Pepitoria (Pepitoria spp.)

and ayote (Cucurbita pepo) are planted as a sole crop just prior to maize planting or as an

intercrop with maize. As a sole crop it can be planted immediately after burning if

sufficient soil moisture is present. This early planting allows the gourds to harden before

pests that attack them appear later in the season.

In 1998 squash was harvested green for household consumption during July and

August. Those milperos wishing to sell seed harvested in September and October after

the gourds had matured and dried. The gourds are broken open, the seed is scooped out,

carried home to dry on plastic tarps, and sold for cash. Squash production can be a

lucrative enterprise as its seed commands a high price in export markets. Few milperos,

however, raise squash as a cash crop.

Black beans (Phaseolus vulgaris) are also raised as an intercrop or sole crop.

Most milperos prefer to plant them in November and December as the rainy season is

tapering off, thus avoiding the pest and disease problems occurring with beans planted







earlier in the year. Maturation and harvest occur during the dry season months of

February and March. Beans which were raised earlier in the year during 1998 were

planted at various times during May, June, and July and harvested about three months

after planting. Some beans are consumed green, but most are allowed to mature and are

harvested dry.

Various other crops such as banana (Musa spp.) and tannia (Xanthosama

sagitifolium) are often encountered in milpas but are not raised in large quantities. Citrus

trees may also be found from time to time and a few milperos have raised vegetables in

the past.

Milpas are weeded by slashing growth with a machete. Usually one to two

weedings are sufficient; if a segunda is planted into the same milpa, a third weeding is

done prior to planting. Hoes are not used because tree stumps, rocks, and large,

unburned woody material often litter the ground.

Some maize is harvested for roasting in August and September, although in other

years the timing of green harvests may be earlier as drought delayed maize planting in

1998. Dry maize is usually harvested from October to December. Prior to harvest and

after sufficient maturation, the stalks are snapped and bent over just below the ear,

leaving it in a downward-hanging posture that protects it from birds and rain.

The dobla, or "bending," took place in 1998 during late September and lasted into

December. Again, 1998 was an atypical year. The dobla, usually occurs during

September and October.

Maize is typically harvested on an as-needed basis from the time roasting ears are

available until the milpero decides to harvest the remaining maize at once. The maize is

picked "la tapizca," thrown into large piles, and then packed out in large bags on







people's backs, by mule, by bicycle or by pickup truck. Ears are stored both with or

without the husk in the family's house or separate building and are usually sprinkled with

insecticide and rodenticide to ward off rats, mice, grain weevils and other insects that

damage the corn. It is shelled by placing it in a sack and beating it with clubs or (more

commonly) by stripping the kernels from the ear by hand.

Segunda Maize Crops

If the primera does not produce sufficient maize for a household, a segunda

(second maize crop) is sometimes planted during the months of October through

December. Segunda is either planted between the rows of matured primera maize or in

year-old guamiles that have been slashed. The segunda is harvested in February or

March.

Milperos report that segunda yields are less reliable than primera yields as the

plants must develop enough before the end of the rainy season in late December or early

January. Segundas not planted with ample time before the rains end usually yield very

little. Segundas are not planted every year as their usual function is to supplement

shortfalls of primera maize production. Among surveyed milperos, 66.7% (n=21) said

they raised segunda crops.

Tercera Maize Crops

Under some circumstances, a milpero will raise a tercera, or a third crop, on the

same parcel before abandoning it. This is relatively rare as weed infestations become

unmanageable, particularly an aggressively-growing grass locally known as "zacate" and

a fern-like plant called "chispa" (this appears to be more of a constraint to continuous

production than falling soil fertility). Only 26% of surveyed milperos (n = 21) reported

raising a tercera. A tercera is apparently raised if a milpero does not have ample time to






61

clear older growth, if weed invasions and soil fertility are not bad enough to inhibit maize

production, or when the milpero is unable to access guamil for the upcoming year. There

were also mentions of a maize crop planted in mid-March (maiz San Jose) in years when

soils have adequate soil moisture; this is relatively rare as March typically is the dry

season.

Milpa Size

Although milpa sizes vary considerably across a wide spectrum (see Table 4-6),

most households raise relatively small parcels of milpa. Only those who attempt to raise

enough maize for sale or who feed it to swine raise milpas over 6 mzs. in size. Of the

sample taken, (n=33), 6% (two producers) raised 6 or more mzs. in 1998. Removing

these milperos from the sample reduces average milpa size to 2.01 mzs.


Table 4-6. Summary of milpa sizes. (n=33)

Milpa size, in manzanas*
Range 0.25-8
Mode 4
Average 2.32
Standard Deviation 1.94
*One manzana is approximately equivalent to 0.7 hectares.


Maize Sales

Milperos do sell maize from time to time if yields are sufficient enough to satisfy

household consumption needs. Almost 65% of milperos said that they had sold maize in

the past while 35% indicated that they had not (n=17). Sales are small, usually ranging

between 100 lbs. and 600 lbs. This level of commercialization is to be expected from

farmers who are essentially subsistence producers.







Maize Yields

Yields vary tremendously from year to year due to climatic conditions, animal

and insect pest invasions, and weed infestations. The year in which this study was

conducted illustrates one of the challenges faced by Uaxactfn's milperos. A prolonged

drought from February to September delayed planting by as much as two months and

adversely affected overall crop performance in many cases. The same drought also

increased the time span and intensity of insect pest attacks, specifically the stalk boring

cogollero worm (Laphygmafrugiperda), beyond their usual levels, as rains usually

falling in May and June drown the caterpillars in the maize plants' whorls. The harvest

itself, usually carried out in October and November, had not begun in most cases by the

time the researcher left Uaxactuin in mid-December.

Maize yields are summarized in Table 4-7. Although these findings are based

upon milperos' reported yields (as measurement was not possible), they are believed to

be representative. The range of yields shown also illustrates the inconsistency of maize

production due to adverse environmental conditions.

Table 4-7. Reported maize yields in Uaxactfin. (n=33)

Pounds of shelled maize per manzana*

Range 200 to 3300
Mode 1600
Average 1595
Standard Deviation 702.56

*One manzana is approximately equivalent to 0.7 hectares.
These are net yields of maize planted in April/May and do not include yields of
"segunda" maize planted in November/December.
The weight of damaged maize has been subtracted.







Fallow Cycles

The length of time a milpa is left in guamil, or fallow, after cropping varies

considerably in Uaxactin and is seen in Table 4-8. These data are a summary of

milperos' opinions about the minimum time period that a milpa must be fallowed in

order to produce adequately, the maximum time period after which the soil gains little

benefit from remaining in fallow, and the average fallow period utilized by milperos.


Table 4-8. Opinions regarding maximum and minimum fallow cycle lengths. (n=33)

Required fallow Standard
cycle, in years Range Mode Average Deviation
Minimum time 0-9 1 4 2.52
Maximum time 3-20 10 9 4.75
Overall 0-20 1 6 4.42


Of interest is the range of guamil cycle length. One may assume that this

variability is explained by those milperos who have larger land holdings and who leave

their land in guamil longer than those with less land. This is true in the cases of Milperos

1, 3, 6, and 9 seen in Figure 4-4, for example, all of whom have adequate amounts of

guamil, and in the case of Milpero 5, who does not and is forced to use very short guamil

cycles.5

This is not true for Milpero 7, though, who has adequate land holdings. This

person fell gravely ill during the spring of 1998 and was forced to clear a smaller area of

younger guamil (which is smaller and easier to slash) than usual due to his physical state.

It does not always follow, then, that milperos with larger land holdings will

fallow land for longer periods, but it does appear that land-poor households (those


5 This milpero has so little land that he was forced to plant some of his 1998 milpa on
unfallowed land cropped in 1997.









22
20
18
16
14
12
10
8 8
6
4
2

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11
Milpero
E Age ofguamil in 1997 M Age ofguamil in 1998



Figure 4-4. Age of guamiles slashed for milpa by 11 milperos in 1997 and 1998.


households which do not "own" land or who cannot strike bargains to "rent" land) are

forced to utilize shorter guamil cycles if they desire to raise milpa annually.

Conversations with relative newcomers, in fact, revealed that even though they had

access to some milpa and guamil, they had not yet gained enough other, unclaimed

guamiles to allow for longer fallow cycles. It seems reasonable, then, to assume that

households with less land will be forced to utilize shorter fallow cycles.

Correlations

To determine the relationships between household characteristics and milpa size,

correlative analyses were conducted. The results seen in Table 4-9 show a moderately

positive (r=.36) relationship between household and milpa sizes, as expected, but show a

negligible relationship (r=-0.06) between household Consumer-Producer (C/P) ratios and

milpa size.







Table 4-9. Correlative relationships between household characteristics and milpa size.

Sample
Relationship ampe Strength of correlation** Correlation
size
Household size and milpa size 32 Moderately positive 0.36
C/P ratio and milpa* 28 Negligible increase -0.06
*The C/P (Consumer to Producer ratio) is the total number consumers in a household
divided by the total number of productive individuals (those contributing food, cash,
labor, or some other asset) in the household.
**Strengths of correlations are based upon the Davis Convention (Davis, 1971).


The C/P ratio is the total number of consumers in the household divided by the

total number of productive individuals in the household who contribute labor, food, or

cash, or some other asset to its welfare. These results indicate that while C/P ratios can

tell something about the internal makeup of households, they are poor predictors of how

much milpa a household will raise. This is not surprising because it is the number of

persons in a household that determines its food needs-not the C/P ratio.

Maize and Household Nutritional Requirements

To further understand the importance of milpa agriculture, its role in terms of its

nutritional contribution was examined. Interviews and measurements of household

maize consumption indicate that much of their required energy and protein are supplied

by maize. To test the accuracy of this information, comparisons were made between

reported maize consumption of six households and that based upon each individual's

recommended annual energy requirement (World Health Organization, 1985), which are

based on average populations of individuals. Individual energy requirements were

calculated using a nutritional calculator (C. K. Hiebsch and M. P. Dougherty, personal

communication, December 10, 1999) and account for age, sex, weight, reproductive

status, and physical activity levels in the case of adults. Individual needs were summed

to obtain the household's total nutritional requirements.







Calculations were then made to estimate the amount of maize needed to satisfy

100% of the household's caloric requirements. Caloric requirements were based on the

nutritive value of tortillas (USDA Nutrient Data Laboratory, 1999); 15% of the maize is

lost in tortilla preparation. Therefore, the weight (reported in lbs.) of maize required to

satisfy a family's needs is the weight of tortillas (at the same water content as the maize)

divided by 0.85.

Given the fact that households consume a variety of grains, fruits and vegetables,

it was unrealistic to assume that households would satisfy all caloric requirements with

maize. Therefore, the caloric value of reported maize consumption was calculated, again

using the nutritive value of tortillas, and divided by the household's annual caloric

requirements to obtain the percentage of household caloric needs fulfilled by maize in

1998. These percentages appear in Table 4-10 and indicate that maize satisfies from one

half to two thirds of households' annual caloric requirements and suggests the

importance of maize to these households.


Table 4-10. Percentage of annual household caloric requirements fulfilled by maize.
(n=6)

Number Reported Percentage of
household human annual human Reported animal
Hou 1. 1 of persons maize
Household of ons maize caloric needs mai
in consumption in
household consumption in fulfilled by 1998 (lbs.)
________1998 (lbs.) maize*
1 8 1708 50 14,024
2 6 to 10 2322 52 705
3 7 1536 52 1095
4 7 1636 68 1460
5 5 1048 52 1566
6 7 1224 48 610
*Based on calculations using a nutritional calculator developed by Clifton Hiebsch and
Michael Dougherty at the University of Florida. Nutritional values of maize were based
on tortillas and reflect water content and losses due to pericarp removal. The caloric
yield of reported maize consumption was divided by the annual household caloric
requirement to obtain the percentages shown.





67

In summary, livelihood systems in Uaxactfin may be described as a mix of cash-

generating activities (harvesting allspice, xate, and chicle) and subsistence-based

activities (hunting and milpa). While the latter two activities do not fulfill all household

consumption requirements, they do (particularly maize production) substantially reduce

household spending on purchased foods. The relative importance of these activities also

changes as bio-physical and socio-cultural conditions change, a topic examined in

Chapter 5 and discussed in the concluding remarks of Chapter 6.













CHAPTER 5
RESEARCH FINDINGS

Chapter Overview

This chapter presents research findings on the importance of hunting, allspice

collection, xate harvesting, chicle extraction, and milpa production to village households.

Results of three linear programming scenarios on six actual households and one fictitious

"average household" are presented, and comparisons are made between actual data

gathered on milpa agriculture and linear programming results. Particular attention is paid

to each scenario's effects on maize production, livelihood strategies, and factors driving

changes in these strategies.

The Relative Importance of Milpa, Xate, Chicle, Allspice and Other Activities

One of the central objectives of this research was to determine the importance of

milpa to Uaxactin's households. Table 5-1 shows the importance of milpa relative to

other household activities. Respondents were asked to rank all household activities from

the most (1) to least (5) important. Note that some activities are not ranked because not

all households participate in the same activities.

In summary, 70% of respondents considered milpa as their most important

household activity, 27% answered that xate harvesting was most important, and 9%

indicated that chicle was most important. Others felt that hunting (3%), salaried work

(6%), and other activities (6%) were most important to their household's wellbeing.

Allspice was not ranked as no harvest occurred in 1998.













CHAPTER 5
RESEARCH FINDINGS

Chapter Overview

This chapter presents research findings on the importance of hunting, allspice

collection, xate harvesting, chicle extraction, and milpa production to village households.

Results of three linear programming scenarios on six actual households and one fictitious

"average household" are presented, and comparisons are made between actual data

gathered on milpa agriculture and linear programming results. Particular attention is paid

to each scenario's effects on maize production, livelihood strategies, and factors driving

changes in these strategies.

The Relative Importance of Milpa, Xate, Chicle, Allspice and Other Activities

One of the central objectives of this research was to determine the importance of

milpa to Uaxactin's households. Table 5-1 shows the importance of milpa relative to

other household activities. Respondents were asked to rank all household activities from

the most (1) to least (5) important. Note that some activities are not ranked because not

all households participate in the same activities.

In summary, 70% of respondents considered milpa as their most important

household activity, 27% answered that xate harvesting was most important, and 9%

indicated that chicle was most important. Others felt that hunting (3%), salaried work

(6%), and other activities (6%) were most important to their household's wellbeing.

Allspice was not ranked as no harvest occurred in 1998.













CHAPTER 5
RESEARCH FINDINGS

Chapter Overview

This chapter presents research findings on the importance of hunting, allspice

collection, xate harvesting, chicle extraction, and milpa production to village households.

Results of three linear programming scenarios on six actual households and one fictitious

"average household" are presented, and comparisons are made between actual data

gathered on milpa agriculture and linear programming results. Particular attention is paid

to each scenario's effects on maize production, livelihood strategies, and factors driving

changes in these strategies.

The Relative Importance of Milpa, Xate, Chicle, Allspice and Other Activities

One of the central objectives of this research was to determine the importance of

milpa to Uaxactin's households. Table 5-1 shows the importance of milpa relative to

other household activities. Respondents were asked to rank all household activities from

the most (1) to least (5) important. Note that some activities are not ranked because not

all households participate in the same activities.

In summary, 70% of respondents considered milpa as their most important

household activity, 27% answered that xate harvesting was most important, and 9%

indicated that chicle was most important. Others felt that hunting (3%), salaried work

(6%), and other activities (6%) were most important to their household's wellbeing.

Allspice was not ranked as no harvest occurred in 1998.







Table 5-1. The ranked importance of milpa in 1998 compared to
other household activities. (n=33)

Rank Milpa Xate Chicle Hunting Allspice Salaried Other
worker
1 23 9 3 1 2 2
2 6 9 2 1 2
3 2 1 5 1 5 1 2
4 1 2 3 1
5 1 3
Not ranked 2 13 20 31 21 27 29

Total 33 33 33 33 33 33 33


When milpa's importance is examined over time, one sees that it has maintained

or gained stature in village households. Table 5-2 show partial results of a Participatory

Rural Appraisal (PRA) session. Two separate groups were asked to rank activities from

most important (1) to least important (5) over a time period of 19 years.

Certain activities were not ranked in some years as they were not viable options at

that time. Arts and crafts from 1980 through 1990, for example, were not ranked because

the possibility had not been introduced to village women. Likewise, allspice was not

ranked by either group in 1995 and 1998 because no harvests took place.

Differences in rankings are explained by the internal makeup of the two groups.

Group 1 was comprised of individuals who had worked as laborers on Maya ruin

restoration projects during the 1980s. Because they were receiving a steady flow of cash

and likely had little time to work in their milpas, they focused more upon cash-earning

activities outside of work that they could do for short lengths of time on weekends or

vacations (chicle, xate, and allspice).







Table 5-2. The importance of milpa compared to other activities over time
as ranked by two groups during a Participatory Rural Appraisal session.

Ground 1 rankings (n=8)*


Activity 1980 1985 1990 1995 1998
Milpa 4 5 5 3 2
Xate 3 3 3 1 1
Chicle 2 2 1 2 3
Hunting
Allspice 5 4 4
Salaried 1 1 2 4
worker 5 4
Arts and Crafts 5
Other
Note: Thio re% A I 1 WA + +


g ups par cpans wor e as a orers on aya run resort on projects
during the 1980s, and thus were more focused on cash-earning activities in the past.
*1=most important, 5=1east important.


(


Group 2 rankings (n=9)**
Activity 1980 1985 1990 1995 1998
Milpa 1 1 1 1 1
Xate 1 1 1 1 1
Chicle 2 2 2 2
Hunting
Allspice 4 4 4
Salaried 3
worker 3
Arts and Crafts
Other


**Note: This group's participants did not have a history of working as salaried
employees, thus historically focusing their livelihood activities on a mix of milpa and
non-timber-forest product harvests.
**1=most important, 5=least important.


Although they still tended to focus on cash activities after restoration projects

ended, one notes that milpa began gaining importance relative to other activities as they

shifted their livelihood strategies toward subsistence and away from earning cash. Group

2 was comprised of individuals who had not worked as salaried workers, and who had

always focused on a mix of milpa and harvest of non-timber-forest products (NTFPs).

Most notable is the equal ranking ofxate and milpa.


*







One notes that both groups have recently begun adjusting their livelihood strategies to

mixes of subsistence and cash-based activities and away from (primarily) cash-based

ones. Two possible interpretations are that: a) households go into subsistence when the

possibilities of cash earnings decrease, and, b) the size of their households have increased

and require them to raise more maize today than 19 years ago.

Linear Programming Objectives

In this section, the results of three ethnographic linear programming scenarios on

seven households are introduced and presented. The objectives were to a) model how

households of differing composition and resources function, and show that they function

in different ways because of their compositions and resources; b) determine the role of

milpa in these households' livelihood systems, and compare it to results previously

presented in this chapter; and, c) show how these households modify their livelihood

strategies in response to changes affecting the normal realm of their activities, such as

environmental disturbances or depressed markets for NTFPs.

The format of the remaining sections of this chapter is as follows: First, brief

descriptions of the households modeled with linear programming are given. Second, an

overview of the three linear programming scenarios and assumptions made in the

modeling process is provided. Third, and finally, results obtained from analysis of the

three scenarios are presented, discussed, and interpreted.

Descriptions of Modeled Households

These brief descriptions are provided to give the reader an image of each

household. Tables outlining each household's composition and livelihood activities are

found in Appendix B.

Household 1 is relatively well-off and diversified in its activities. It has larger

milpas than most households in order to feed its animals. Two of its three children are in







school and do light chores such as hauling water and gathering firewood. One of the

women in the household has a small cottage industry that supplements household

earnings. Two of the adult males currently work as paid workers while the other focuses

exclusively upon milpa production. Previous to gaining employment, one of the adult

males harvested NTFPs and hunted.

Household 2 is an extremely poor, female-headed household. During the year of

this study the adult female was hired to prepare meals for laborers working in the village.

This source of cash lasted until December 1998 when they completed their work and left.

With the exception of her oldest son who works as a day laborer in Uaxactin and

infrequent remittances from family members outside the household, no other members

work in cash-earning activities. The household has no milpa. This household is

exceptionally marginalized and barely survives.

Household 3 sells food from its small store and is relatively well off. Although

old enough to do so, neither of the family's two older sons works consistently. The adult

female has a small cottage industry and the adult male currently works as a salaried

employee. The older boys help with household chores, work in the milpa, and harvest

xate from time to time. The oldest daughter also helps with household chores.

Household 4 has many young children. The adult male works as a salaried

employee and the adult female has a small cottage industry, and buys xate. All of the

children, with the exception of the youngest, are in school and perform light household

chores in their spare time. The older boys go to the family's milpa from time to time but

do not harvest NTFPs. This household may best be described as dual-headed.

Household 5 is the "youngest" of the seven modeled in this study, only having

formed 10 years ago. The oldest son is in school and assists with household chores. The





73

adult female is not involved in extra-household activities; she does not have time due to

the children's young age. The adult male is a milpero, xatero and hunter, and left for

brief periods in early 1998 and again in late 1998 through early 1999 to work. He does

not harvest chicle or allspice.

Household 6 is also quite young with no children over 8 years of age. While the

adult male does harvest all NTFPs, he concentrated the majority of his efforts upon milpa

in 1998. The adult female has a small cottage industry and acts as a curandera, or healer,

from time to time.

Household 7 is an "average household" whose information is the averaged

information of the other six households. This household is modeled to determine

whether results are reflective of how the other limited-resource households function.

Adult males in this household harvest NTFPs and raise maize. Adult females manage the

household but do not participate in extra-household activities. The children old enough

to do so assist with light chores in the home.

Descriptions of Linear Programming Scenarios

Scenario 1

This is a model of how households functioned in 1998, the year data were

gathered and is the base simulation model. As allspice and chicle were not harvested in

1998 due to environmental and market factors, xate is the only NTFP that households are

allowed to harvest. Results are obtained for a single year in order to generate the most

realistic results possible, as the situation in Uaxactfin changed during 1999 (R. McNab,

personal communication, October 16, 1999). As information was only gathered during

the latter half of the year, and because the data are not complete in all areas, it becomes

exceedingly difficult to test the accuracy of modeling results against actual data for







highly variable activities like xate harvesting. Moreover, because none of these

households participated in chicle extraction or allspice harvesting in 1998, it is very

difficult to gauge whether results of modeling these activities are accurate without

comparable data. As such, the only comparisons for validation made here will be

between actual milpa size and modeled milpa size because a) milpa size is fixed over the

course of a year, and b) sufficient data on milpa for the modeled households (and others)

for comparison exist.

Although this analysis seems very limited, it does serve an extremely useful

purpose: The year 1998 was unique in that two of three traditional cash-generating

household activities could not be performed. In light of this, Scenario 1 provides a

unique picture of how households deal with shocks to their livelihood strategies, and how

they modify these strategies to survive.

Scenario 2

Households were modeled for a two year period in this scenario. Results shown

are those obtained at the end of two years. The first year of this scenario utilizes the

same data and constraints as Scenario 1. In the second year, xate collection is prohibited.

Chicle and allspice harvests are, on the other hand, permitted. This scenario was chosen

in light of concerns regarding xate overharvesting, and is designed to test how household

livelihood strategies might change if they were unable to harvest this important NTFP.

While this sort of total and rapid loss of xate is improbable, Scenario 2 provides a sense

of xate's relative importance to household livelihood systems and examines whether or

not households turn back to subsistence measures when faced with cash shortages.







Scenario 3

This scenario is also a two year model, and, again, the results presented are the

households' situations at the end of two years. As in Scenario 2, the first year of this

scenario is the households' situations in 1998. In the second year, all traditional

activities are potentially available; additionally, the possibility to work as an employee of

Uaxactfin's community forest concession is introduced. This scenario tests whether

households would shift away from the normal, and sometimes very lucrative, traditional

NTFP harvests and milpa production in favor of a steady salary.

While various activity options could have been tested in this scenario, this

particular one was chosen because it is a likely option for some households in the near

future. The village must manage the area within its community forest concession, and

OMYC has planned to employ several villagers as guards and administrators. As this

possibility was the most concrete of all, employment as a concession worker was selected

as the best candidate for testing.

It is important to note that these linear programming results cannot be validated

by reality in all cases and as such must be interpreted using research observations and

other data gathered during the course of this study. The reader must also realize that

various conditions must sometimes be created in the modeling process to most accurately

simulate household behavior and thus provide more reliable answers to questions posed

via linear programming.

Conditions

In this section, conditions applying to all households are presented first. These

are followed by conditions applied to each household in each of the three scenarios

tested.







Conditions Applying to all Households in all Scenarios

1. If a household member is outside the community working as an employee,

or if he works as a community forest concession employee, his food,

travel, medical, and clothing expenses are the same as they would be if he

were in the household. Thus, household expenses are not adjusted to

account for his absence.

2. Male labor requirements for household maintenance (water hauling,

firewood collection, etc.) are increased in Year 2 to maintain young male

children in the household. This is done because they are able to contribute

more labor to the household in Year 2 (because they are older) but are still

not old enough to participate in cash-earning activities.

3. Households cannot sell maize.

Conditions Applying to Individual Households

Household 1: Scenario 1

1. Xate harvests are limited to a maximum of 200 days to prevent one of the

adult males, who does not harvest NTFPs, from harvesting xate.

2. Adult males working outside of the community do not return home to

harvest xate or to work in the milpa for more than 4 days a month.

3. The household does not purchase any maize.

4. Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible.

5. Doll making is not possible.

Household 1: Scenario 2

1. Points 1 through 4 from Scenario 1 apply to Year 1 of this scenario.

2. Allspice and chicle can be harvested in Year 2.
















House]












House


3. One of the two males working outside the household can return home in

Year 2 to harvest allspice and chicle and to work in the milpa.

4. Xate harvests are not possible in Year 2.

5. Doll making is not possible.

hold 1: Scenario 3

1. Points 1 through 4 from Scenario 1 apply to Year 1 of this scenario.

2. Both males working outside of the household can return home in Year 2 to

work as community forest concession employees.

3. All NTFPs can be harvested in Year 2.

4. Doll making is not possible.

hold 2: Scenario 1

1. Household does not produce milpa or harvest NTFPs.

2. Maize purchases are restricted to 3025 lbs.

3. Household expenses must be reduced by 67% in order to obtain a feasible

solution. This probably indicates unreported sources of cash earnings.

4. Doll making is not possible.

5. No more than 198 days of male labor can be used to work as a paid

laborer.

hold 2: Scenario 2

1. Point 1 from Scenario 1 applies to Years 1 and 2 of this scenario.

2. Maize purchases are restricted to 3025 lbs. in Year 1 and 2536 lbs. in

Year 2.


House





78

3. Household expenses must be reduced by 67% in Year 1 and 7% in Year 2

in order to obtain a feasible solution. This probably indicates unreported

sources of cash earnings.

4. Doll making is not possible.

5. No more than 198 days of male labor can be used to work as a paid

laborer.

hold 2: Scenario 3

1. Points 1 through 4 from Scenario 2 apply to this scenario.

2. Adult males are given the opportunity to work as employees of the

community forest concession.

3. An integer solution is required in Year 2 so that the employed male must

choose either to continue working at his current job or to leave it to work

as a concession employee.

4. Doll making is not possible.

5. No more than 198 days of male labor can be used to work as a paid

laborer or community forest concession employee.

hold 3: Scenario 1

1. Household cannot purchase any maize.

2. Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible.

3. Xate harvests are possible.

4. Doll making is possible.

hold 3: Scenario 2

1. Household must produce 50% of its needed maize requirements in Year 1

and 90% in Year 2.


House


House









House







2. Doll making is possible in both years.

3. Xate cannot be harvested in Year 2.

4. Allspice and chicle harvests are possible in Year 2.

5. The adult male cannot work more than 198 days annually as a paid worker

and cannot return home to harvest NTFPs or to work in the milpa for more

than four days per month.

hold 3: Scenario 3

1. Points 1 and 2 from Scenario 2 apply to this scenario.

2. Xate can be harvested in Year 1, but allspice and chicle harvests are not

permitted.

3. All NTFPs can be harvested in Year 2.

4. The opportunity to work as an employee of the community forest

concession is offered, but the adult male cannot work more than a total

198 days as a paid laborer or as a concession worker.

5. The adult male cannot harvest NTFPs or work in the milpa for more than

four days per month in Year 2.

hold 4: Scenario 1

1. Household must produce 50% of its maize.


2.

3.

4.

5.


Household does not harvest xate.

Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible.

Doll making is possible.

No more than 198 days of male labor can be used for working as a paid

worker outside of the village.


House


House











House


80

6. Adult male cannot return home from his paid position to work in the milpa

or harvest NTFPs for more than four days per month.

hold 4: Scenario 2

1. Household must produce 10% of its maize in Year 1 and 50% of its maize

in Year 2.

2. Doll making is possible in both years.

3. Household does not harvest xate.

4. Allspice and chicle harvests are possible in Year 2.

5. No more than 198 days of male labor can be used for working as a paid

worker outside of the village.

6. Adult male cannot return home from his paid position to work in the milpa

for more than four days per month.

hold 4: Scenario 3

1. Points 1 through 3 from Scenario 2 apply to this scenario.

2. All NTFPs can be harvested in Year 2.

3. No more than 198 days of male labor can be used for working either as a

paid worker outside of the village in Years 1 and 2 or as a community

forest concession employee in Year 2.

4. Adult male cannot leave any paid position to work in the milpa or harvest

NTFPs for more than four days per month.

hold 5: Scenario 1

1. Household raises no milpa.

2. Adult male cannot work more than 57 days as a paid worker.


House


House
















House


House


3. Adult male cannot return to the household to harvest xate for more than

four days per month.

4. Doll making is not possible.

5. Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible.

hold 5: Scenario 2

1. No milpa is raised in Year 1.

2. Household cannot purchase more maize than it needs in Year 1.

3. Household must produce 50% of its maize in Year 2.

4. Doll making is not possible.

5. Allspice and chicle harvests are possible, but household does not perform

these activities.

6. Adult male cannot work more than 57 days as a paid worker in Year 1 and

91 days in Year 2.

7. Adult male cannot return to the household to work in the milpa for more

than four days per month in Year 2.

8. Xate cannot be harvested.

hold 5: Scenario 3

1. Points 1 through 4 from Scenario 2 apply to this scenario.

2. All NTFPs can be harvested in Year 2, but household only harvests xate.

3. Adult male cannot work more than 57 days as a paid worker in Year 1.

4. No more than a total 198 days of male labor can be used for working as a

paid worker outside of the village or as a community forest concession

employee in Year 2.














House









House


5. While employed in any paid position, the adult male cannot return to the

household to perform any other activity more than four days per month in

Year 1 or 2.

hold 6: Scenario 1

1. Household must produce 90% of its needed maize.

2. Household earns Q10,0000 from unspecified (probably illegal) activities.

3. Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible.

4. Doll making is possible.

hold 6: Scenario 2

1. Household must produce 90% of its needed maize in Year 1 and 100% in

Year 2.

2. Household earns Q10,0000 from unspecified (probably illegal) activities

in Year 1 and Q8,000 in Year 2.

3. Allspice and chicle harvests are not possible in Year 1, but can be done in

Year 2.

4. Xate harvests are possible in Year 1, but not in Year 2.

5. Doll making is possible in both years.

hold 6: Scenario 3

2. Household must produce 90% of its needed maize in Year 1 and 100% of

needed maize in Year 2.

2. Household earns Q 10,0000 from unspecified (probably illegal) activities

in Year 1.

3. Illegal activities are not possible in Year 2.


House




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