Governing intensification: the influence of state institutions on smallholder farming strategies in Calakmul, Mexico
In forest frontiers, smallholder agrarian livelihoods remain uneasily juxtaposed with conservation interests. Agricultural intensification is often considered a viable means of reconciling competing environmental and livelihood objectives given its potential to concentrate production on less land. However, intensification may have unintended consequences, including loss of resilient agricultural systems. The risks of smallholder agricultural intensification warrant a better understanding of its drivers. This study uses the case of Calakmul, Mexico, to examine the critical role of the state in intensification processes. Drawing on household surveys and key-informant interviews, it traces the linkages between state institutions and local farming practices. Statistical and qualitative analyses reveal how intensification is both incentivized and imposed by prevailing policies, the former via subsidies and the latter via regulations against field rotations. The outcome–increased external inputs and longer cultivation periods between fallows–may undermine the sustainability of smallholders’ agroecosystems, an undesirable consequence amid limited livelihood alternatives.
Journal of Land Use Science
Dobler-Morales, Carlos; Roy Chowdhury, R.; and Schmook, B., "Governing intensification: the influence of state institutions on smallholder farming strategies in Calakmul, Mexico" (2020). Geography. 572.